Syria

Iowa and Illinois governors to close borders for Syrian refugees

“Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

 

On Monday November 14 Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner released that statement regarding Illinois acceptance of Syrian refugees:

Illinois joined many other (mostly Republican) governors in refusing to accept anymore Syrian refugees into their states. On Tuesday afternoon there were 20 states on that list and growing.

Before the day was over Iowa’s Governor Terry Branstad joined this group and ordered all state agencies to halt any work on Syrian refugee resettlements immediately.

The press release read: In light of the Paris attacks, resettlement of Syrian refugees in Iowa should cease until a thorough review of the process can be conducted by the U.S. intelligence community and the safety of Iowans can be assured.

“We have welcomed refugees from around the world into Iowa. We must continue to have compassion for others but we must also maintain the safety of Iowans and the security of our state,” said Branstad.  “Until a thorough and thoughtful review is conducted by the intelligence community and the safety of Iowans can be assured, the federal government should not resettle any Syrian refugees in Iowa.”

Earlier on the day Branstad had his doubts about the legalities of such order.

“I don’t know that the states have the authority to decide whether or not we can take refugees. This is a federal program,” Branstad said.

Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigration in Des Moines, said under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.

President Obama addressed this issue on a press conference at the G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey

“And as President, my first priority is the safety of the American people. And that’s why, even as we accept more refugees — including Syrians — we do so only after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security checks.” he said.

Obama administration still plans to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.

“We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves — that’s what they’re fleeing. Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.” Obama affirmed at the G20 Summit.  

 

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