US governors refuse refugee intake following Paris attacks

More than 20 US governors refuse refugee intake following Paris attacks, say there might be terrorists among them

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Refugees disembark the Eleftherios Venizelos passenger ship at the port of Piraeus, near Athens,Greece,November,14,2015

More than 20 US governors on Monday said they will stop the settlement of Syrian refugees in their states.

The governors say it is too risky to allow refugees and announced their decision in the aftermath of the Friday’s deadly Paris attacks claimed by the terrorist group DAESH.

Republican Governors Greg Abbott of Texas, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Phil Bryant of Mississippi and others said they will not participate in the Obama administration agenda of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country.

"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," Abbott said in an open letter to US President Barack Obama on Monday.

"Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity."

After the attacks that killed 129 and injured more than 350, a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the perpetrators of the attack.

The French authorities' discovery of the passport has ignited concerns that at least one of the perpetrators might have entered Europe along with the thousands of Syrians fleeing the civil war in their country.

In a parallel stand, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he will send Syrian refugees back to Syria if he gets elected as they might be disguised DAESH militants.

It is unclear if governors directly have the authority to reject the immigration policy that the federal government regulates.

However, Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to Republicans in US Congress asking for their help.

"We are asking the US Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation ... without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security," he wrote.

Republican Representative Brian Babin sponsored a national security act that places moratorium on all refugee settlement programs that if passed will defund Obama’s refugee resettlement plan.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, said on the last Republican presidential debate that Congress should cut funding for all Syrian refugee resettlement programs.

Another Republican candidate Marco Rubio said the US should not take in more Syrian refugees after the Paris attacks.

The US admitted 1,682 Syrian refugees in the 2015 federal fiscal year. Texas, California and Michigan are amongst the states that accepted the largest number of Syrian refugees.

Secretary of State John Kerry in September said the US would increase refugee intake from all nations by 15,000 per year over the next two years.

In contrast to Republican caucus, Obama says "It is very important that we do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism."

Democratic caucus has a moderate stance on the issue. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, in a statement said "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."


TRTWorld and agencies