Following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks that resulted in 129 deaths in Paris, two U.S. governors have announced their states will not be accepting any more Syrian refugees.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley released statements citing fears the incoming refugees could pose a security threat.
Amid the devastation of a civil war, 11 million Syrians have fled their country since 2011. The United Nations has declared them the largest displaced group in the world, according to CNN.
The U.S. has accepted 1,500 refugees so far. In September, the Obama administration announced the U.S. would accept an additional 10,000 within the year.
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The discovery that one of the suicide bombers, thought to be part of Islamic State group, during the Paris attacks may have infiltrated France under the guise of a Syrian refugee has sparked concerns that the terrorist organization may be exploiting the Syrian crisis to seed militants in western nations.
The Obama administration announced on Nov. 15 it will uphold its commitment to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees, Fox News reports.
White House Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told Fox News that Homeland Security has been using “very robust vetting procedures” to ensure that every refugee is cleared of extremist ties before entering the U.S.
On Nov. 16, both Snyder and Bentley announced their states would not be accepting any of the 10,000 incoming refugees. While they have made their stance known, the decision may not be up to them because the federal government has final say on where refugees are placed, according to The Washington Post.
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“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder says. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”
Snyder’s announcement is a reversal from his previous position of welcoming Syrian refugees into the state of Michigan. Roughly 200 Syrian refugees have been settled in the state in 2015, Fox News reports.
“As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” said Bentley. The state had not previously resettled any Syrian refugees.
Anxiety over the Syrian refugee crisis has spread across the world. Despite the growing concern, both Canada and Australia are joining the U.S. in honoring their commitments to accept 25,000 and 12,000 refugees within the year, respectively, The Washington Post reports.
The Republican presidential candidates have criticized the Obama administration’s refusal to turn away refugees. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida claims “there’s no way to background someone that’s coming from Syria” and business mogul Donald Trump has declared “this could be one of the great Trojan horses,” CNN reports.