More and more Governors across the nation are refusing to accept Muslim refugees from the war torn Middle East (particularly Syria), until the federal government can figure out how to fully vet each and every refugee that enters their state.
Nathan Deal of Georgia:
“In light of the terror attacks in Paris, I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia. Further, I call on the Obama Administration to work with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to confirm the backgrounds of the 59 Syrian refugees recently resettled to ensure they do not pose a security threat to our citizens. Until the federal government and Congress conduct a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks, we will take every measure available to us at the state level to safeguard the safety of Georgians.”
Rick Snyder of Michigan:
“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. 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.”
Robert Bentley of Alabama:
“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. As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”
Greg Abbott of Texas:
“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.
Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity. As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas:
“As governor, I oppose any facility or installation in Arkansas being used as a Syrian refugee center. Many of the Syrian refugees are fleeing violence in their own country but Europe, Asia or Africa are logically the best places for resettlement or for temporary asylum. Syria is a war torn country and the United States will support our European friends in fighting ISIL in Syria and elsewhere; however, this is not the right strategy for the United States to become a permanent place of relocation. Again, I will oppose Arkansas being used as such a relocation center.
The hardships facing these refugees and their families are beyond most of our understanding, and my thoughts and prayers are with them, but I will not support a policy that is not the best solution and that poses risk to Arkansans.”
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana:
On Monday, Governor Jindal issued an executive order putting a stop to resettlement of Syrian refugees in Louisiana.
“The state of Louisiana has been denied critical information by the federal government regarding Syrian refugees already relocated into this state, creating an untenable situation.”
Mike Pence of Indiana:
“Indiana 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,” Pence said in a statement.
He said he was directing all state agencies to stop resettling Syrian refugees in Indiana until the federal government can provide assurances that “proper security measures are in place.”
Pat McCrory of North Carolina:
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory is requesting the federal government stops sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina until they answer further security questions. He is requesting additional background checks and criminal records for anyone being settled in the state.
“My primary duty as governor is to keep the citizens of North Carolina safe,” McCrory said.
Doug Ducey of Arizona:
“Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona. As governor, I am invoking our state’s right under 8 USC, Section 1522 (a), to receive immediate consultation by federal authorities per the United States Refugee Act, and that the federal government take into account the concerns and recommendations of the state of Arizona as they are required to under federal law, in our efforts to keep our homeland safe. I also call on Congress and the President to immediately amend federal law to provide states greater oversight and authority in the administration of the placement of refugees. These acts serve as a reminder that the world remains at war with radical Islamic terrorists. Our national leaders must react with the urgency and leadership that every American expects to protect our citizens.”
Rick Scott of Florida:
In a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Scott he’s ordering Department of Children and Families, the state agency overseeing refugee services in Florida, not to cooperate with a federal request to place 425 Syrian refugees in the state.
But he also called on Congress to pass legislation or withhold funds for Syrian refugee resettlement from President Obama’s administration…
“As the federal elected body that exercises oversight and authorizes federal spending, please take any action available through the powers of the United States Congress to prevent federal allocations toward the relocation of Syrian refugees without extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security.”
Bruce Rauner of Illinois:
“Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens.”
Paul LePage of Maine:
Maine Gov. Paul LePage says it is “irresponsible” to let Syrian refugees into America because they could be a threat to the country’s security.
Charlie Baker of Massachusetts:
“My first priority is protecting citizens of the commonwealth,” Baker said, adding right now he’s refusing any Syrian refugees…
Baker said today he is blocking any Syrian refugees coming to Massachusetts until the federal government offers more insight.
“I think any conversation that involves this has to start with whatever process the federal government is going to put in place,” Baker said at the State House. “I think at this point in time we would have to be very cautious about accepting folks without learning a lot more about what the federal government plans look like.”
Phil Bryant of Mississippi:
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant added his name to the list of governors vowing to block any Syrian refugees from settling in their states.
“I’m currently working with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Office of Homeland Security to determine the current status of any Syrian refugees that may be brought to our state in the near future,” Bryant said in a statement. “I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi. The policy of bringing these individuals into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous. I’ll be notifying President Obama of my decision today to resist this potential action.”
Nikki Haley of South Carolina:
Haley said she isn’t aware of any Syrian refugees in South Carolina or any plans to bring them to the state, but added, “If they’re going to change who comes in, we’ll put a stop to it.”
It seems likely that as this debate continues more Governors will begin taking a stand to either allow resettlement in their states or they’ll try to block such resettlement. With the Obama/Kerry plan to resettle some 250,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years, don’t expect this back and forth to end anytime soon.
Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire:
Gov. Maggie Hassan said the federal government should “halt acceptance” of Syrian refugees until U.S. authorities can assure the vetting process keeps Americans safe.
A Hassan spokesman Monday morning said the governor “has always made clear that we must ensure robust refugee screening to protect American citizens, and believes that we must know more of the facts about those who carried out the Paris terrorist attacks and have strong assurances of safety from our intelligence officials before we admit refugees from Syria into the United States.”
Map of states refusing to accept refugees from Fox News.
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