Abbott had tried to stop refugees before, declaring in 2015 that Texas would not welcome people from Syria [File: Eric Gay/AP Photo]

Governor Greg Abbott of Texas on Friday became the first governor in the country to refuse to accept refugees after President Donald Trump signed an executive order empowering local jurisdictions to consent to the federal programme.

“At this time, the state and non-profit organisations have a responsibility to dedicate available resources to those who are already here, including refugees, migrants and the homeless,” Abbott, a Republican, said in his letter to the US State Department. “As a result, Texas cannot consent,” to refugee resettlement this fiscal year, he said.

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The decision is a major blow to the US refugee programme

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