Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas proposed legislation that would enable U.S. governors to opt their state out of the federal government’s mandate that they accept a portion of the 10,000 refugees scheduled to enter the U.S. in 2016.
Cruz, who is running for Republican nomination as the presidential candidate, introduced the bill, along with two others, during a Dec. 8 press conference in Washington, D.C. He was joined by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who was among the first U.S. governors to declare Syrian refugees unwelcome in his state.
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the federal government in an attempt to block the federal government's Syrian refugee resettlement program from applying to his state, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Paxton’s lawsuit said the state of Texas did not have faith in the federal government’s vetting process for the refugees and that they posed a security risk.
U.S. District Judge David Godbey rejected the lawsuit, citing that Paxton had not produced sufficient proof for his concerns.
“The court finds that the evidence before it is largely speculative hearsay,” Godbey wrote in his ruling.
Cruz’s proposed bill would give state governors the ability to defy President Barack Obama’s executive orders that they accommodate Syrian refugees.
“In the event that the president wants to send refugees to a particular state, the governor has the ability to opt out,” said Cruz, according to Reuters.
Cruz cited the 30 U.S. governors who have come out against accepting U.S. refugees for inspiring his bill.
“Those officials are doing their jobs,” Cruz said, according to TheBlaze. “They’re honoring their commitments to the men and women who elected them. We need a president who will do the same.”
During the press conference, Cruz also discussed his other two bills he claims will strengthen U.S. national security. The first is legislation that would put a three-year pause on the U.S. accepting any refugees fleeing from areas controlled by ISIS or al-Qaida. The second bill would strip any American who joins a foreign terrorist group of U.S. citizenship.
Cruz suggested attaching his refugee bill to the "omnibus," a must-pass spending bill Congress has until Dec. 11 to vote. Failing to pass the omnibus would result in a government shutdown, Reuters reports.
“I think we should use every legislative tool to keep this country safe,” Cruz said. “So of course we should use the omnibus.”