Growing List Of Governors Say They Won’t Accept Syrian Refugees

Alex Pappas | Political Reporter

A growing number of governors, in wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, say they will not accept Syrian refugees into their states.

“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration. But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said over the weekend. “Given the terrible situation in Paris, I’ve directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures.”

It’s been revealed that at least one of the attackers in the Paris massacre on Friday likely entered the country with migrants from Syria. President Obama on Monday reaffirmed his desire to accept 10,000 refugees over the next year.

But other governors, reacting to the events in Paris, said they also would not accept them.

“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said. “As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas,” Texas Greg Governor Abbott said Monday. “Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson also said Monday his state would oppose the move.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, running for president as a Republican, also issued an executive order Monday to “prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state of Louisiana.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence also issued a statement Monday, saying his state would “suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees […] pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved.”

“North Carolina has a proud tradition of providing a hand-up for those in need, including international refugees,” said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. “However, because President Obama has increased the number of refugees from Syria coming into the United States from 2,000 to 10,000 and because of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the very real possibility that one of the terrorists entered France as a recent refugee, I am requesting that the federal government cease sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina.”

“Following the terrorist attacks by ISIS in Paris that killed over 120 people and wounded more than 350, and the news that at least one of the terror attack suspects gained access to France by posing as a Syrian refugee, our state agency will not support the requests we have received,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said.

Scott, in a letter to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, said “it is our understanding that the state does not have the authority to prevent the federal government from funding the relocation of these Syrian refugees to Florida even without state  support.”

“Therefore, we are asking the United States Congress to take immediate and aggressive action,” Scott said.

“Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday.

A number of governors, however, said Monday they would accept refugees.

“Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice,” Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“The Governor agrees with the Pope that we have a duty to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees fleeing violent conflicts like the Syrian civil war and he supports the President’s decision to provide asylum for refugees in the United States,” a spokeswoman for Delaware Gov. Jack Markell said.

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