World

California, Texas and Michigan Among US States Admitting The Most Syrian Refugees

| by Nik Bonopartis

Despite consternation over President Barack Obama's plan to admit more than 10,000 Syrian refugees, numbers from the State Department show only 1,829 refugees from the war-torn country have been admitted to the U.S. in 2015, and most of them have been resettled in California, Texas, Michigan and Arizona, according to the State Department.

The ten states that have admitted the most refugees are:

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  1. California, 218
  2. Texas, 194
  3. Michigan, 188
  4. Arizona, 153
  5. Illinois, 131
  6. Pennsylvania, 119
  7. Florida, 104
  8. Kentucky, 92
  9. New Jersey, 75
  10. Ohio, 72

In all, 23 U.S. states or territories have not received any Syrian refugees, State Department data shows. Nine states have received fewer than 10 Syrian refugees, ranging from Kansas — with eight refugees — to Wisconsin, which has admitted only one refugee.

Reports indicate Obama's refugee resettlement program may be put on hold, at least temporarily, as state governors say they'll opt out of the program in light of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris, which left 129 dead. At least one of the terrorists suspected in the heavily coordinated attacks was legally admitted to Europe as a refugee — that man, who called himself Ahmad al Muhammad, was admitted to Greece in early October, CNN reported.

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The attacks have spurred a similar shift in stance among some European leaders, whose countries have already absorbed tens of thousands of refugees. Around 4 million Syrians have left the country to escape the civil war, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where Islamic State group militants have been gaining ground in their offensive against the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump amped up the anti-refugee rhetoric on Nov. 16, when he told CNN that refugees "could become one of the great Trojan horses," a reference to a story about the ancient Greeks hiding soldiers inside a massive wooden horse, which was accepted into the city of Troy as a symbol of victory and offer to the gods. The Greek soldiers waited until nightfall to open Troy's gates, admitting the main Greek host and leading to Troy's downfall.

"We cannot let them come into this country, period," Trump told CNN.

As of Nov. 17, governors of 27 states have announced they will oppose the federal government's plans to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, although CNN notes the feds have the final say on where refugees are sent.

Sources: U.S. Department of State, Refugee Admissions Program (Department of State), Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, CNN / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons