At least half of the country’s governors are refusing to take in Syrian refugees in their states amid heightened security concerns following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
ABC News reports that Michigan and Alabama were the first states in the country to refuse relocating Syrian refugees on Sunday, and they have now been joined by Oklahoma, Nebraska, Idaho, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Georgia, Maine, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Carolina and Iowa, some of which say more information is needed before accepting more refugees.
Govs. Rick Snyder of Michigan, Robert Bentley of Alabama, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said in separate statements Sunday and today that their states would not be relocating refugees from the war-torn country until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security fully reviewed its screening procedures.
“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”
Gov. Bentley weighed in. “I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” he said. “I will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people. Please continue to join me in praying for those who have suffered loss and for those who will never allow freedom to fade at the hands of terrorists.”
In a letter to President Obama today, Gov. Abbott of Texas said:
“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.
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. And I urge you, as President, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States.”
And Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana also issued an executive order today to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state.
Gov. Hutchinson of Arkansas tweeted his disapproval of Syrian refugees in his state:
As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.
— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) November 16, 2015
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence also joined the growing group of states that don’t want these refugees.
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved,” Pence said in a statement. “ndiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers. Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect.”
Obama’s DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has even admitted that “we don’t know a whole lot” about Syrian refugees coming into America, and that there is “no active protocol” to properly screen these ‘refugees.’
The state opposition may put a clamp on President Obama’s plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year after top congressional lawmakers began urging the administration to halt the plan.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul called on Obama to “temporarily suspend the admission of all additional Syrian refugees” pending a “full review,” according to a letter obtained by Fox News.