Governors Across U.S. Pledge to Refuse Syrian Refugees

Greg Abbott
Greg Abbott / AP
November 16, 2015

Multiple governors across the United States are refusing to allow Syrian refugees to resettle in their states amid safety concerns following the deadly terror attacks in Paris.

By Monday afternoon, at least 14 governors said that they would not permit new Syrian refugees to enter their states as part of President Obama’s refugee resettlement plan, citing concerns that terrorists could use the program to gain access to the United States, according to the Washington Post.

"Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, 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," Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a letter to Obama Monday.

"Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the state of Texas. And I urge you, as president, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States."

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

Abbott along with the governors of Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas have refused to accept refugees from Syria, where the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIL or ISIS) holds territory. IS has claimed responsibility for the suicide bombings and shootings in Paris that killed at least 129 people last Friday. A Syrian passport was found next to one of the attackers, suggesting that its holder entered Europe as a refugee.

Obama ordered the U.S. government in September to admit at least 10,000 more Syrian refugees this fiscal year. White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Sunday that the U.S. still plans to admit thousands of refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria, insisting that the administration has "very robust vetting procedures" in place to screen the migrants.

In September, director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he was concerned that Islamic State militants would "infiltrate" crowds of Syrian refugees fleeing to the U.S. and Europe.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, IS released a video threatening attacks on the U.S. and other nations participating in air strikes against the terror group in the Middle East.