Houston Refugee Consortium: Governor Abbott should reverse his decision on refugee admissions

The governor’s decision endangers lives for those seeking safety in Texas;
Harris Co. Judge Lina Hildago and elected officials to join in expressing concern

The Houston Refugee Consortium calls on Governor Greg Abbott to reverse his decision to deny admission to new refugees to Texas.  Based on Executive Order 13888, issued by President Trump on September 26, 2019, state and local officials must provide specific permission for refugee resettlement in their jurisdictional areas.  While Harris County Commissioners Court and Harris County Judge Lina Hildalgo issued unanimous approval along with City of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, Governor Abbott’s rejection of refugee admissions overrides any local consent given.

Houston Refugee Consortium news conference

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 10 a.m.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
2900 Louisiana Street, Houston, TX 77006 | MAP

Elected officials (*speaking):

  • Harris County Judge Lina Hildalgo*
  • Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis
  • Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia
  • Texas State Representative Christina Morales
  • Texas State Representative Armando Walle
  • Texas State Representative Gene Wu*
  • And representatives from various offices
    • Refugee Albert Kasumaj
    • Kimberly Haynes, Director, South Texas Office of Refugees
    • Rabbi Brian Strauss, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Yeshurun
    • Refugee employer: Jim Tecklu, Holmes Smokehouse
    • Houston Refugee Consortium agency representatives


Houston Refugee Consortium

The Alliance ▪ Bilingual Education Institute ▪ Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston ▪ Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston ▪ Refugee Services of Texas ▪ YMCA of Greater Houston

The Houston Refugee Consortium comprises six nonprofit agencies who welcome individuals and families to our community, providing support through social services, education and employment assistance:  The Alliance, Bilingual Education Institute, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, Refugee Services of Texas, and YMCA of Greater Houston.

The AllianceThe Alliance
The Alliance works to create opportunities for refugees, immigrants, and underserved residents to achieve their goals for self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.  Founded over 34 years ago, The Alliance provides holistic services and innovative social enterprises to empower residents who face financial, educational, health, language or cultural barriers to realizing their dreams.

Bilingual Education Institute
During the last thirty-seven years, Bilingual Education Institute (BEI) has provided ESL classes to thousands of new immigrants, refugees, asylees, trafficking victims, and visitors from abroad who represent all social, educational, ethnic, and economic levels.  BEI has a variety of English courses and student advising services designed to meet the needs of refugee and immigrant students.  BEI provides quality teaching to our students, motivating them to achieve in academics, business, and in global and local communities.

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-HoustonCatholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston brings help and hope to people in need, especially the poor and vulnerable, through a network of life-changing programs that work together to alleviate poverty, and annually serve about 85,000 people in the Greater Houston region.  The Refugee Resettlement Program helps refugees and other government-approved new arrivals achieve economic self-sufficiency.  We address their immediate needs when they arrive in the U.S. and offer ongoing help while they adjust to their new life through cultural orientation, education and job development.

Interfaith Ministries for Greater HoustonInterfaith Ministries
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston’s Refugee Services department, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department and Episcopal Migration Ministries, resettles refugees fleeing their homeland in fear of political, social or religious persecution.  Interfaith Ministries helps refugees from around the world make new lives in America and successfully acculturate to American life.  Over 90% of the clients we serve are self-sufficient, productive members of the community within 90 days.

Refugee Services of TexasRefugee Services of Texas
Founded in 1978, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) is a social-service agency dedicated to providing assistance to refugees and other displaced persons fleeing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group – as well as to the communities that welcome them.  RST provides services to hundreds of refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking, and related vulnerable populations from over 30 different countries of origin each year.

YMCA of Greater HoustonYMCA
YMCA International Services is a unique center of the YMCA of Greater Houston that delivers client-centered programs to refugees, immigrants, and other vulnerable populations to advance their economic independence, social integration, and civic participation.  The Y helps newcomers restore hope, build stability, create opportunity and change futures.  YMCA International Services is continuously recognized as a leader in the Houston immigrant community.

News conference contact:
Betsy Ballard, bballard@CatholicCharities.org
(o) 713-874-6751