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Federal Judge Refuses to Bar Syrian Refugees From Entering Texas. Roger Algase

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Update: December 10, 9:20 am

The eventual result of the so-far unsuccessful attempt by the State of Texas to bar lawfully admitted Syrian refugees from entering that state on what the District Court has called "largely speculative" terrorist grounds (see below) could also have larger legal implications.

Among these could be whether, as Donald Trump has proposed, all Muslim immigrants could legally be barred from entering the US on religions or ideological grounds. See Kliendienst v. Mandel 408 U.S. 753 (1972), which will be discussed in an upcoming comment.

Another consequence could be, even though so far not even Trump has yet suggested this, could be a proposal to deny birthright US citizenship to the children of legal Muslim immigrants, or even Muslim American citizens.

If it is Constitutional to deny birthright US citizenship to the US-born children of primarily non-white unauthorized immigrants, what would prevent Congress from doing the same to the US-born children of Muslim parents? In a legal sense too, not only a political or societal one, once the genie of prejudice against an entire racial or religious group has been let out of the bottle, as Trump and his followers have done, it is hard to put it back in.

My original post appears below:

On December 9, US District Court Judge David C. Godbey of the Northern District of Texas denied that state's request for a temporary injunction preventing the federal government from resettling Syrian refugees in that state. The basis of the lawsuit is that the federal government has allegedly failed to carry out its statutory duty to consult and cooperate with the state before resettling any refugees in the state. The court held:

"One of the requirements for a TRO
[Temporary Restraining Order] is that the movant demonstrate a substantial threat of immediate injury.[citation omitted.] The Commission [Texas Health and Human Services Commission] argues that terrorists could have infiltrated the Syrian refugees and could commit acts of terrorism in Texas. The Court finds that the evidence before it is largely speculative hearsay. The Commission has failed to show by competent evidence that any terrorists have actually infiltrated the refugee program, much less that these particular refugees are terrorists intent on causing harm."

In a footnote, the Court also stated:

"The fact that this Court is required to assess the risk posed by the Syrian refugees illustrates one of the problems with this case. The Court has no institutional competency in assessing the risk posed by refugees. This is precisely the sort of question that is, as a general matter, committed to the discretion of the executive branch of the federal government, not to a district court."

The Court did not discuss any of the Constitutional issues which could arguably be presented by the lawsuit, such as the exclusive power of the federal government over immigration, to the exclusion of the states (see my December 9 discussion of a leading 19th century Supreme Court case upholding this doctrine which was decided under the infamous Chinese exclusion laws), or the implied attempt to limit the Constitutional right to free exercise of religion by Muslim immigrants who have been lawfully admitted to he United States.

The case is entitled: Texas Health and Human Services Commission v. U.S. Civil Action No. 3:15-CV-3851-N
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants from many parts of the world, and of many different religions, obtain work permits and green cards for more than 35 years. Roger's email address is

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Updated 12-10-2015 at 08:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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  1. Unregistered222's Avatar
    In this dark day, one can only praise the government of Israel, who is actually taking care of their own people and protects them from murderous Jihadi garbage. The government of Israel have spoken its word - they will not accept a single refugee from Syria. The new moral standard for the politicians has been coined.

    I am hopeful that proving this point will lead to positive results in next election.
    Updated 12-10-2015 at 04:49 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The prime minister of Israel has criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim comments and Trump has just cancelled his trip to that country, according to the latest news.

    I am also deleting your defamatory PS comment.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  3. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Delete my comments all you want Roger. Actions speak better than words. I am very glad that while criticizing Trump Israel still decides to put safety of their citizens in front of taking in Syrian refugees. Israel position on not taking in refugees ever from Syria is 100% correct.
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    If everything Israel does is right, then I assume you must also agree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of Donald Trump for his bigoted remarks about Muslims in general.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law

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