Politics

Over A Dozen States Reject Syrian Refugees In Wake Of Paris Attacks

Syrian refugees resting on the floor of a Budapest, Hungary, train station

After news that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe's immigration system, 19 governors have vowed not to welcome any Syrian refugees into their states, ABC reports.

Citing concerns for the safety of their residents, the Republican governors of Michigan, Alabama Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Wisconsin, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Georgia, Maine, Kansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and South Carolina announced that they will not be accepting any new Syrian refugees. 

"Paris changes everything,” Republican Rep. Mike McCaul of Texas said, according to Fox News. “There are a lot of holes -- gaping holes" in security screening for refugees.

Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced on Nov. 16 that he wrote to President Obama to say that he Texas would not take in any Syrian refugees.

"Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity," Abbott wrote. "As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril."

Michigan, which has a high number of Arab-American residents, may not allow in any refugees either. Gov. Rick Snyder said that he cannot welcome more refugees until the Department of Homeland Security can guarantee that its screening procedures are thorough.

"Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration," Snyder said in a statement. "But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents." 

The governor later added, "It's also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world."

Between 1,800 and 2,000 refugees have settled in Michigan over the past year, 200 of them from Syria, notes the Detroit Free Press.

Despite concerns, President Obama is moving forward with plans to accept Syrian refugees, USA Today reports. Obama called requests to admit Christians but not Muslims into the country "shameful."

"That's not American, it's not who we are," he said.

"We don’t have religious tests to our compassion," Obama told the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Sources: ABCFox News, USA Today, Detroit Free Press / Photo Credit: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons

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