Policy

Cruz Questions Refugee Resettlement

He asks the Obama administration about costs to communities

Ted Cruz is questioning the Obama administration's handling of refugee resettlement. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz wants answers from the Obama administration on how it determines where in the United States to resettle refugees from the Middle East.  

"I am concerned that the federal government and the voluntary agencies that administer the resettlement program have been abusing the generosity and good will of resettlement communities by funneling refugees to those communities without adequate consultation and advance notice," the Texas senator wrote the State Department and the Department of Health and Human Services in a letter released Thursday.  

Cruz cited a Government Accountability Office report from 2012 about issues that communities who host refugees must address, including strains on local school districts and mental health service providers.  

"What will you do to ensure that state and local officials are given advance notice before a refugee is resettled in their community?" Cruz wrote. "How much advance notice do you believe is feasible?"  

Refugee resettlement, especially from the volatile Mideast, has been a hot-button political issue. Cruz has been among the most vocal in pushing for blocking the admittance of refugees from countries with land "substantially controlled" by terror groups like the Islamic State.

But Democrats on Capitol Hill and the administration have rebuffed that effort, which gained prominence in the wake of last year's terrorist attack in Paris and renewed attention this week after the Brussels bombings.

Texas has taken in more than 34,000 refugees since 2011, more than any other state, according to the letter.  

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