At least 23 governors, expressing fears about terrorism, are taking action — through executive order, a request to federal officials or some other means — to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in their states.
Their stand in the name of public safety began Sunday and escalated quickly Monday, igniting a debate over whether states even have the power to refuse people based on their nationality.
The governors — in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin — were reacting to Friday’s attacks in Paris and the possibility that Syrian refugees seeking resettlement in the United States might include people with terrorist ties.
Twenty-two of the 23 governors are Republican. The lone Democrat is Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.
In Louisiana, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order instructing state agencies to “take all available steps” to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees in his state.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott acknowledged that only Congress can deny federal funding to help Syrian refugees relocate to the U.S. He urged lawmakers to do that.
Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont went the opposite direction and said his state will uphold American values by welcoming refugees fleeing terrorism and violence.
USA TODAY compiled governors’ views on the resettlement question by contacting their offices or tracking their statements and Twitter posts. Twenty-one governors said they plan no action for now to keep Syrian refugees out of their states, and six — in Kentucky, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York and North Dakota — had no response. Source: USA Today