Alabama follows Texas, sues Obama over refugees

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Michael F. Haverluck (

Syrian refugees in GermanyIn the wake of Texas suing the federal government last month over its program mandating refugee resettlement, Alabama filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming the Obama administration violated the Refugee Act of 1980 by covertly placing refugees from abroad into its communities — without consulting state officials.

The act declares that the federal government “shall consult regularly” with individual states prior to placing refugees within their boundaries. Confirmation of the latest lawsuit against the Obama administration was given by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Ardis, The Associated Press reports.

"We are the one who secure the people of this state and protect the people of this state,” Bentley told The Associated Press, noting that the rights of states are being ignored by federal officials. “We need to have the information on refugees as they come in to allow us to do that."

Thomas More Law Center President and Chief Counsel Richard Thompson says that even though Texas and Alabama have the 35-year-old refugee law on their side, it is unlikely that it will help them win their lawsuits. His legal group is not defending either state in their cases against the federal government, but believes that using the 10th Amendment — which defines the relationship between federal and state governments — will give Texas and Alabama a better chance of beating the administration’s refugee program.

“They filed a suit on the grounds that the feds have failed to consult with the state on the location of refugees in the state, and failure to consult is a term that has no real definition to it,” Thompson told WND. “Texas has filed a similar suit that thus far has not gone anywhere. Thomas More Law Center’s position is that there is a constitutional claim and that claim is based on the 10th Amendment.”

A majority of state governors up-in-arms?

Even though Bentley is just one of two Republican governors suing the federal government over its forced refugee resettlement programs, governors from at least half of the 50 states have contested Syrian refugees resettling in their states — in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks slaughtering 130 people last November.

Governors aren’t the only ones resisting the refugees resettling in the United States, especially once taking into account reports stating that at least one of the eight jihadi terrorists in in the Paris massacre arrived as a refugee into Europe.

“About 80 GOP congressmen have also signed on to co-sponsor a bill by Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, which would halt all refugee resettlement until the program can undergo a full investigation into its costs and its risks to national security,” WND’s Leo Hohmann reports. “But the U.S. State Department has continued distributing Muslim refugees into more than 180 U.S. cities and towns. They come not only from Syria and Iraq, but from Somalia, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burma and other countries with active jihadist movements.”

Both the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement have implemented the refugee program. It is likely in the near future that they will have to face attorneys at the Thomas More Law Center, who have been building up their case since last summer arguing that the departments’ replacement of refugees is unconstitutional. The lawyers contend that states reserve constitutional rights that are implied and not explicitly laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

A better challenge …

Thompson’s confidence in the 10th Amendment supersedes his faith in the 1980 Refugee Act as being able to keep Syrian refugees from setting foot in Texas and Alabama — or any other state challenging the feds, for that matter. He explained that refugees would likely still be placed in the two states if they won their suits against the federal government.

“The feds are going to say ‘OK, we’re consulting, we’ve consulted with you and we’re going to do it,’ and the federal government has already made the statement that the states have no rights to refuse refugees,” the attorney based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, pointed out to WND. “The word ‘consultation’ is so vague that if federal government calls whatever state representative and says, ‘OK, we’re going to send 10 refugees to the state of Alabama and they’ve all been checked out,’ and the state says no, it has no impact. That’s because ‘consultation’ doesn’t mean ‘agreement.’ It just means you have to talk to somebody.”

According to Thompson, Texas and Alabama can no longer “just say no” to refugees entering state borders as a result of their governors’ lawsuits.

“But under the 10th Amendment, we would claim that the Constitution says the federal government in no way has the right to commandeer state funds to fund or promote a federal program,” the attorney specializing in constitutional law informed. “And that argument goes to the fact that once the refugee comes into the state, all kinds of state taxpayer money is being used to take care of the welfare of that refugee.”

There are other problems the administration will have enforcing its refugee program, says Thompson.

“And there’s no way the state can control what its budget will be because they don’t know how many refugees are coming from one year to the next,” asserted the head of Thomas More Law Center — a nonprofit legal organization that champions religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, biblical family values, and the Judeo-Christian moral principles upon which America was founded. “The [Obama administration] can’t treat the state as a department of the federal government, saying, ‘We’re going to decide this many refugees are coming into your state, and you have to take care of them.’ Every state has control over its own budget but now you have the federal government dictating how much will be spent on refugees.”


To help explain how states are forced by the federal government to use its programs Thompson demonstrated how they must spend one dollar in Medicaid for every two dollars spent by the feds. He used Medicaid to demonstrate the method of blackmail the federal government is allegedly using to force its refugee program on states.

“Medicaid funding is a huge percentage of the state budget, but if the state refuses to allow all of the refugees into the Medicaid program, all federal funding for Medicaid is taken away,” the legal expert argued, explaining how the feds have taken over state budgets. “So these are very serious constitutional issues that should be decided by a federal court.”

WND reports that the federal government now supplies from 30 to 50 percent of state budgets, and Thompson indicates that such funding will dictate how refugees are cared for.

“So, these claims by Texas and Alabama may get the federal government to give them some information,” Thompson added. “But at the end of the day, the refugees will still be coming in, and state taxpayer funds will still be involved in taking care of the refugees.”

Despite the fact that at least half of the state governors in the U.S. oppose the Obama administration’s refugee program, the Thomas More Law Center has still not been able to find any who will accept its offer to sue the federal  government using the 10th Amendment to end the controversial influx of Syrian and other potentially jihadist refugees into their states. However, the legal group hasn’t given up.”

“We are still promoting it, and there are some states that have expressed an interest, but I don’t want to give those names out yet,” Thompson shared with WND. “It’s more — as is the case many times — [that] they want to talk about the issue, but they don’t want to take any strong action.”

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