Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas both recently released statements that their states will refuse all Syrian refugees after the terror attacks on Paris, France.
Gov. Bentley stated:
“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”
Bentley’s statement appears to be mostly jingoistic posing. According to Alabama’s Governor’s Office, not a single Syrian refugee has actually been relocated there, “though neighboring states have processed a number of refugees.”
Bentley further went on to say:
“The acts of terror committed over the weekend are a tragic reminder to the world that evil exists and takes the form of terrorists who seek to destroy the basic freedoms we will always fight to preserve. I will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people. Please continue to join me in praying for those who have suffered loss and for those who will never allow freedom to fade at the hands of terrorists.”
Meanwhile In Texas, Gov. Abbot took this xenophobic stance a step further, writing a letter to President Barack Obama “informing him that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.” Abbot not only aims to keep refugees out of Texas, but begs the President to block Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. entirely.
“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. 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.”
At present, Michigan governor Rick Snyder has done his best to halt the settlement of Syrian refugees in his state. A large number of states are protesting their arrival. Here is the complete list as of now, via CNBC.
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
Despite any statements they make or letters they write, it is not within a governor’s rights to decide whether refugees are allowed within the borders of a state or not. According to the Constitution, the federal government dictates immigration policy, and not individual state governments.