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Judge rejects Texas request to bar Syrian refugees

<p>A federal judge has rejected a request from the State of Texas to bar nine Syrian refugees from being relocated to Houston.</p><p>U.S. District Court Judge David Godbey said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had failed to produce enough evidence that the immigrants pose a danger to the community.</p><p>&quot;The Court finds that the evidence before it is largely speculative hearsay,&quot; Godbey wrote, turning down the order sought on behalf of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. &quot;The Commission has failed to show by competent evidence that any terrorists actually have infiltrated the refugee program, much less that these particular refugees are terrorists intent on causing harm.&quot;</p><p>Paxton <a href=”http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/texas-sues-federal-government-syrian-refugees-216368″ target=”_blank”>filed suit a week ago</a>, asking that resettlement of Syrian refugees be halted until screening of the migrants for terrorist ties could be verified and improved. The request was in keeping with a flurry of comments from various state officials in recent weeks vowing to resist such transfers.</p><p>&quot;The Court does not downplay the risks that terrorism, as a general matter, may pose. It must, however, assess the risk, if any, posed by these particular refugees,&quot; Godbey wrote in his three-page ruling (posted <a href=”http://www.politico.com/f/?id=00000151-8919-d45f-ab7f-ef7da2310001″ target=”_blank”>here</a>). &quot;The Court also acknowledges that the kind of concrete information that would help in assessing that risk is the very sort of information the Commission complains the Federal Defendants should have – but did not – share with the Commission. Nonetheless, on the record before the Court, the Court finds that the Commission has failed to establish by a preponderance of the admissible evidence that there is a substantial threat of irreparable injury, and therefore denies the application for TRO [a temporary restraining order.]&quot;</p><p>A spokeswoman for Paxton did not immediately respond to a request for comment.</p><p>Godbey, who sits in Dallas, was appointed by President George W. Bush.<br /></p><br>

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