AUSTIN (KXAN) — Earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott directed DPS to look into “potential threats” of Syrian refugees in Texas and he ordered the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to stop resources dedicated to Syrian refugee resettlement. Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman wants to follow in his footsteps. Zimmerman says refugee benefits will be a main topic at the next Public Safety Committee meeting.
“If something happens, God forbid, but if something happens, the first question that’s going to be raised is why didn’t the city do something about this public safety issue,” he said.
His resolution calls for two things. The first: clarify what services are being provided to refugees. Secondly, debate ending actions from the city to resettle Syrian refugees.
“The combatants and ISIS do want to bring it to our shores. They were able to bring it to Paris. Maybe they could bring it to Austin or New York or Boston,” said Zimmerman.
“I don’t think it gets us anywhere,” said Council Member Ann Kitchen. She thinks that action from the council would not fight terrorism, only take away resources from people who need them. She thinks we should not blanket all of the refugees as threats.
“I think that is playing in to what the terrorists want us to do,” said Kitchen.
This debate will only heat up Nov. 30 at a committee meeting.
Several non-profit groups that assist with refugee resettlement tell KXAN most of their resources come from donations and the federal government. The groups tell us the city only helps with rental assistance programs.