Amarillo, TX - Refugee resettlement organizations statewide are now being instructed to discontinue any plans to resettle Syrian refugees.
Per Governor Greg Abbott, the Health and Human Services Commission sent letters to resettlement organizations across the state, ordering them to stop helping Syrians immediately.
Amarillo's two local agencies, Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle and Refugee Services of Texas, said they won't be helping Syrians. However, it has nothing to do with the Governor's recent order
In 2011, both organizations agreed to only resettle refugees who already have families in the Panhandle. It's known as a reunification policy.
No Syrians have ever been resettled in the Panhandle, and because of the reunification policy, there won't be any Syrians coming here.
Catholic Charities Director Nancy Koons said she wishes those who fear Syrian refugees would realize they share the same fear of Isis. "That is the same fear that the Syrian refugees have," said Koons. "So we have that in common. We're both afraid of them and the Syrians are fleeing that awful, awful condition in their homeland. It's a troubling situation."
Koons said her heart goes out to the Syrian refugees looking for a safer home, but locally Catholic Charities' focus will remain on family reunification.