Austin, Texas — Three Syrian families may spend Christmas in Texas detention centers after immigration officials denied their parole request last week. The decision angered immigration advocates who called on the Obama administration to release the refugee families saying it violates a federal court ruling.
The families presented themselves last month at the border in Laredo, Texas. Although they passed their background checks and credible fear interviews – an interview for asylum seekers that determines whether they fear persecution or torture upon their return to their home country — the families were denied parole by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, said Jonathan Ryan, director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services. (Ryan, an attorney, is representing the families.)