WASHINGTON — More than half of the nation’s governors have called on the U.S. to stop admitting Syrian refugees, most of them promising to do everything in their power to prevent them from entering their states.
The governors represent Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. All are Republicans except for Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, a Democrat.
While most pledged to block Syrian refugees from entering their states, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he doesn’t think he has the authority to keep the federal government from resettling them. Hassan called for the U.S. to stop admitting Syrian refugees entirely, but her spokesman said she could not block their resettlement in New Hampshire. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin similarly said there should be a moratorium on admitting Syrian refugees but stopped short of saying her state would try to reject them.
All of the governors cited last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which the Islamic State, also called ISIS, took credit for. Authorities found a Syrian passport near one of the suicide bombers there, although it has yet to be confirmed whether it belonged to the attacker, or whether it was stolen or a forgery. French authorities said the mastermind of the attacks was a Belgian man.
The attacks set off a backlash against Syrian refugees. In Europe, Poland’s future minister for European affairs said the country will not implement the European Union’s refugee plan in light of the attacks in Paris. In the U.S., calls to limit refugee admissions have come mostly from Republicans — many of whom had expressed concerns about admitting Muslims from Syria in the first place.
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