Texas sues US, relief agency, to block Syrian refugees

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Texan Syrian Relief Agency Will Defy The State

AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A Texas state agency sued the U.S. State Department, a relief agency and others in federal court on Wednesday seeking to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state, where a relief agency plans to bring Syrians within a week.

The International Rescue Committee is set to relocate two Syrian refugee families to Texas in the coming days despite a threat from state officials that such a move would be reckless and would be met with a cut in funding for the agency.

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The Texas Health and Human Services Commission sued, asking the U.S. District Court in Dallas for an immediate restraining order and a hearing by Dec. 9 for an injunction that would prevent resettlement. It is also asking refugees not to be resettled until then.

The suit names U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the U.S. State Department and others as defendants. Texas is seeking an injunction to halt the resettlement because the state contends the defendants are violating their "statutory duty to consult with the State in advance of placing refugees in Texas."

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Texas sues US, relief agency, to block Syrian refugees
An elderly refugee walks to past the Greek-Macedonian border as tents with stranded migrants are seen in no-man's land near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Macedonia toughened rules for crossings earlier this month, in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Refugees wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Macedonia toughened rules for crossings earlier this month, in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A Yazidi refugee family from Iraq cries while resting on the seashore shortly after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, stoking tensions among the countries along the migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Refugees disembark from a vessel after their arrival from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, as the refugee crisis is stoking tensions among the countries on the Balkan migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A man kneels before a Macedonian police officer in an effort to cross the border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Scores of migrants stranded at Greeceâs northern border have clashed with police while trying to force their way into Macedonia. Macedonia toughened rules for migrant crossings earlier this month, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Macedonian policemen raise their shields during clashes with migrants attempting to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Scores of migrants stranded at Greeceâs northern border have clashed with police while trying to force their way into Macedonia. Macedonia toughened rules for migrant crossings earlier this month, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Migrants approach the coast of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos on a dinghy as a group of Spanish volunteer lifeguards help them, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, stoking tensions among the countries along the migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
A migrant uses a blanket to warm, as he waits in no man's land to be allowed to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Migrants stranded at the border have been protesting for days, as several of them have started a hunger strike, after Macedonia and other Balkan countries toughen criteria for migrants and asylum seekers hoping to travel across the region to northern Europe. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
A Yazidi refugee woman from Iraq holds her child shortly after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, as the refugee crisis is stoking tensions among the countries on the Balkan migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
A vessel used by migrants to cross the Aegean sea from the Turkish coast remains on the Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, as the refugee crisis stokes tensions among the countries on the Balkan migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Macedonian policemen clash with migrants at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Scores of migrants stranded at Greeceâs northern border have clashed with police while trying to force their way into Macedonia. Macedonia toughened rules for migrant crossings earlier this month, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
An Iraqi refugee holding her child waits for other family members on the seashore shortly after arriving on a vessel from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, as the refugee crisis is stoking tensions among the countries on the Balkan migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Migrants try to remove a fence at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Scores of migrants stranded at Greeceâs northern border have clashed with police while trying to force their way into Macedonia. Macedonia toughened rules for migrant crossings earlier this month, restricting access to citizens from countries typically granted asylum in Europe, including Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Iraqi refugees disembark from a vessel after their arrival from the Turkish coast to the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants are reaching Europe each day along the so-called Balkan migrant route, stoking tensions among the countries along the migrant corridor including Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
Life Jackets and a boat used by refugees and migrants to cross a part of the Aegean sea from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos remain on a beach, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. About 5,000 migrants reaching Europe each day over the so-called Balkan migrant route. The refugee crisis is stoking tensions among the countries on the so-called Balkan migrant corridor â Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
An elderly migrant stands behind a fence, as Pakistani migrants protest demanding to be allowed to pass the Greek-Macedonian border, near the northern Greek village of Idomeni, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015. Migrants stranded at the border have been protesting for days, as several of them have started a hunger strike, after Macedonia and other Balkan countries toughen criteria for migrants and asylum seekers hoping to travel across the region to northern Europe. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
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After the Paris attacks in November, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, was one of the first of more than 30 U.S. governors seeking to block the resettlement of Syrians into their states.

Abbott has said he was concerned that U.S. security screening is ineffective and could allow people with ties to terrorism to be admitted. U.S. officials have described the vetting process for Syrian refugees as long and extensive. (Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin and Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas; Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

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