Governors Balk at Taking In Syrian Refugees After Paris Terror Attacks

By Zachary Leshin | November 16, 2015 | 3:01pm EST
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said that his state is refusing to accept any refugees from Syria. (AP photo)

( – The governors of Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, and Texas are challenging federal policy on Syrian refugees following the deadly terrorist attack in Paris on Friday. At least one of the perpetrators reportedly entered France after claiming refugee status in Greece.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley flatly stated that he is refusing to accept any Syrian refugees at the State Department-approved refugee center in Mobile.

“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,” Bentley said in a statement.

“As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal ondemned the federal government’s relocation of Syrian refugees to Louisiana without first consulting state officials.

On Monday morning, Jindal signed an executive order instructing state agencies to take all available steps to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees in Louisiana:

“All departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in  the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect."

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. (AP photo)

In a letter Jindal sent Saturday to President Barack Obama, he wrote:

“Last week, the city of New Orleans began receiving its first wave of Syrian refugees. As with former immigration crises and federal relocation policy, Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state.

“It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state's knowledge or involvement,” Jindal wrote.

The governor then proceeded to ask Obama for details regarding the process used by the Department of Homeland Security to make sure the new arrivals were not terrorists.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. (AP photo)

“What level of background screening was conducted prior to entry in the United States? In light of the fact that some of those responsible for [Friday’s] attacks held Syrian passports, what additional protections and screenings will be put in place?

“Will all Syrian refugees seeking relocation in the United States now be cleared by the Terrorist Screening Center? What degree of monitoring will be sustained after initial placement in Louisiana?” asked Jindal.

Jindal suggested that “it would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States. Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also called for the federal government to stop accepting Syrian refugees.

In a Monday letter to Obama, Abbott wrote:

“I - and millions of Americans - implore you to halt your plans to accept more Syrian refugees in the United States. A Syrian ‘refugee’ appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack. American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger,” said Abbott.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (AP photo)

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder likewise called for a moratorium on sending Syrian refugees to his state.

“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 situations in Paris and Beirut, 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.” said Snyder.

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