Texas backs down from effort to block Syrian refugees

Texas stopped trying Friday to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the state after suing the US government over fears that new arrivals from the war-torn country could pose a security risk.

The swift reversal defused a lawsuit the Obama administration criticized as unfounded. Since the Paris attacks, at least 29 US governors have vowed to keep new Syrian refugees outside their state borders. Texas on Wednesday became the first to take the federal government to court, but legal experts called the lawsuit futile, saying states have no authority over resettlements.

“I think that it’s the first sign that Texas is beginning to see the light,” said Cecillia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is defending a resettlement group that Texas also sued.

A total of 21 Syrian refugees, most of whom are 13 years old or younger, are scheduled to resettle next week in Dallas and Houston.