11 sitting governors are refusing to allow Syrian refugees into their states in response to Friday’s attack in the heart of Paris. The Republican governors include – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Texas. Current Republican presidential contender and active Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal issued an executive order on Monday instructing state agencies to “take all available steps to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees to Louisiana.” Abbott joins the governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and Mississippi in denying entrance to the hundreds of thousands of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced their states would “suspend” the resettlement of Syrian refugees. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he wants to know more before accepting them. Governor Kasich’s spokesperson, Jim Lynch, said the governor is “writing to the president to ask him to stop resettling them in Ohio.” The Obama administration said in September it was prepared to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year as Europe deals with the influx of migrants from war-torn regions in the Middle East and Africa. Obama on Monday defended the decision, saying that “slamming the door in their (refugees’) faces would be against our values.”
“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” the president at the conclusion of the G20 summit in Turkey. Ben Rhodes, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the massacre in Paris would not alter the U.S. policy toward taking in refugees from the chaotic civil war in Syria.
We have very expansive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who have come to the United States,” Rhodes said. “There’s a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our national Counterterrorism Center [and] the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we’re carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States.”
At least 132 people were killed and hundreds injured in a series of attacks that took place around Paris on Friday evening. Several of the attackers have been identified as French citizens. According to French prosecutors, a bomber who targeted the national stadium was found with a Syrian passport. The passport’s discovery raised concerns that Islamic State militants may be crossing into Turkey before moving to Western Europe alongside the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who have entered Europe this year, many of them fleeing thecivil war in Syria.
Despite such reactions, President Obama is continuing with plans to accept refugees from Syria. Responding to calls to admit Christians but not Muslims into the country, he said, “That’s shameful. That’s not American, it’s not who we are.”
The civil war in Syria, which has raged since 2011, has killed 250,000 people and, according to the United Nations, sent more than 4 million refugees into other countries to flee the violence in what has been called the largest humanitarian crisis since World War II. he vast majority of the refugees have gone to Europe or neighboring countries. The United States accepted 1,854 Syrian refugees through September; more than 10 times as many have been admitted from Myanmar. The Obama administration has indicated that it plans to increase that number to 100,000 by 2017, which human rights advocates call inadequate to address the depths of the crisis.