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Texas threatens nonprofit group over Syrian refugees

AUSTIN, Texas - Texas is threatening legal action against a resettlement agency over its plans to defy Republican Gov. Greg Abbott by continuing to accept Syrian refugees.

Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Chris Traylor says the New York-based nonprofit International Rescue Committee hasn't cooperated with a directive to relocate Syrians somewhere other than Texas. He wants assurances from the group by Monday.

Messages left with the nonprofit, which runs a program in Dallas, were not immediately returned.

The Obama administration reminded state officials last week they don't have the legal authority to refuse to accept Syrian refugees. More than two dozen governors, mostly Republicans, have vowed to block efforts to resettle Syrians following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.

The letter from Traylor was first reported by the Houston Chronicle.

Just last week, more Syrian refugees turned up on the border with Mexico in Texas and turned themselves in to federal agents to seek asylum. They were at least the second group to do so in a short time span.

It's not uncommon for Syrians and others from the Middle East to seek asylum in the U.S. through various routes. However, the detention of the Syrians in Texas comes at a time of heightened national security concern from several governors and GOP presidential candidates who oppose a federal plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks.

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