On Sunday the governors of Alabama and Michigan said they would not allow any Syrian refugees into their states. Their remarks come after the revelation that at least one of the Paris attackers “slipped through Europe’s immigration system.”
Governor Rick Snyder (R-MI) said he was putting plans to accept more refugees on hold until the screening process was reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said in a statement. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.” He followed up with: “It’s also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world.”
So far, approximately 1800-2000 refugees have been resettled in Michigan. Two hundred are from Syria.
Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama said that “[a]fter full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris … I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”
Alabama has no refugees to date.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also raised concerns about refugees being relocated in Louisiana.
“Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state,” Jindal wrote in a letter to Obama. “It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement. … As governor of Louisiana, I demand information.”
WWL-TV in New Orleans reported that the State Department said 14 Syrians had been resettled in Louisiana.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes went on Fox News Sunday to say that Obama still planned to let in 10,000 refugees and was confident in the vetting process.
“We had very robust vetting procedures for those refugees,” Rhodes said.
But Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, had a different opinion.
“I disagree,” he said. “I’ve been briefed by the FBI and Homeland Security. They tell me that this cannot be done.”
“We don’t have the databases,” he said. “Paris changes everything. There are a lot of holes — gaping holes.”