More Than 2 Dozen GOP Governors Oppose Admitting Syrian Refugees

Updated at 10:18 a.m. on Nov. 17

Following the Friday terrorist attacks in Paris, conservative politicians in the U.S. were quick to pressure American leaders to halt efforts to admit Syrian refugees into the country.

The governors of Michigan and Alabama were the first to announce that they would not accept Syrian refugees. And by Tuesday morning, 27 governors in the U.S. announced that they opposed admitting Syrian refugees to the U.S. and into their states.

Numerous governors announced that they would outright refuse to support federal government efforts to settle Syrian refugees in their states. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an executive order on Monday telling state agencies to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in the state.

“All departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana are authorized and directed to utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect,” the order reads.

Some governors, like Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R), said that they would place acceptance of Syrian refugees on hold while the federal government reviewed the process for vetting refugees from Syria.

“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said in a statement, according to the Detroit Free Press. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) echoed Snyder in a Monday statement that he will place acceptance of Syrian refugees in the state on hold in light of the Paris attacks.

“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved,” Pence said in the statement. “Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers. Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) did not say he would try to ban Syrian refugees from the state, but told reporters on Monday that he is not in favor of accepting refugees from Syria, according to the Boston Globe.

“I would say no as of right now,” Baker said, according to the Globe. “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, did not say he would try to ban Syrian refugees from the state, but asked President Obama to stop sending refugees from Syria into Ohio.

Democratic New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, who is running for U.S. Senate, said in a statement that Obama should halt plans to accept additional refugees from Syria. But she stopped short of saying she would not allow the refugees to settle in the state.

And both candidates in the Louisiana governor race, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) and Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards, said that Louisiana should stop accepting Syrian refugees.

Numerous Democratic governors, including Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, assured the residents of their states that they will still take in refugees from Syria.

“We must not lose sight of the fact that families leaving Syria are trying to escape the same violence and unimaginable terror that took place in Paris and Beirut,” Wolf spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan said in a statement, according to PennLive.

“To assist the settlement of families fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the federal government coordinates with local charitable organizations in Pennsylvania and other states,” Sheridan continued. “Pennsylvania will continue working with the federal government to ensure that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process.”

Following the attacks in Paris, several Republican presidential candidates called for the U.S. to either stop plans to accept Syrian refugees or only take in Christians fleeing the conflict in Syria.

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