16 States Say No to Syrian Refugees

Alabama, Michigan governors were the first to cite Paris attacks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 16, 2015 5:20 AM CST
Updated Nov 16, 2015 4:22 PM CST
2 States Say They Won't Accept Syrian Refugees
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley speaks at the Capitol in Montgomery, Ala., earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

The attacks in Paris have prompted the governors of several US states to declare that Syrian refugees aren't welcome. The governors of Alabama and Michigan each issued statements Sunday to that effect, reports the Washington Post. And on Monday, the governors of Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, and New Hampshire said the same, notes the Daily Beast. The issue is resonating particularly strongly in Michigan, which already has accepted about 200 and is home to what the Detroit Free Press calls one of the biggest Mideast populations in the nation. "Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration," said Gov. Rick Snyder. "But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents." He said the state would suspend its push to bring in refugees until the Homeland Security department conducts a review of procedures in the wake of the Paris attacks.

In Alabama, Gov. Robert Bentley said he intends to keep the number of Syrian refugees to zero. "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 US Refugee Admissions Program," he said. "As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way." One of the State Department's refugee processing centers is in Alabama, and it isn't clear how Bentley plans to stop Syrians from being resettled in the state, NBC News reports. Indeed, the Post notes that states have "limited power" when it comes to the relocation of refugees, and President Obama has said the US plans to take at least 10,000 from Syria. (Read more refugees stories.)

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