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Some governors halt, question plan to accept Syrian refugees

(Associated Press) - November 16, 2015 - 5:00pm

DETROIT — Several US governors are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, and at least one is asking the White House for more information on plans to allow refugees into the country.

The governors are responding to heightened concerns that terrorists might use the refugees as cover to sneak across borders. One of the attackers in Paris had a Syrian passport, and the Paris prosecutors' office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.

Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring Middle Eastern countries and Europe, and President Barack Obama's administration has pledged to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next 12 months. The US State Department said the refugees would be spread across the country. Republican presidential candidates have criticized the plan.

Here's a look at where some states stand:

MICHIGAN

Gov. Rick Snyder had bucked many fellow Republican leaders by welcoming refugees to Michigan, which has a large Arab-American population. But he said Sunday that the state is postponing efforts to accept refugees until federal officials fully review security procedures and clearances. Snyder said that while he is proud of the state's history of immigration, its "first priority is protecting the safety of our residents."

TEXAS

Gov. Greg Abbott on yesterday ordered Texas' refugee resettlement program not to accept any more Syrians in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. In a letter to Obama, the Republican also urged scrapping federal plans to accept more Syrian refugees into the country as a whole. He said the federal government can't perform "proper security checks" on Syrians.

ALABAMA

Fellow Republican Gov. Robert Bentley announced Sunday that he would refuse Syrian refugees relocating to the state, saying: "I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way." Bentley's news release said the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency was diligently working with federal officials to monitor any possible threats. There has been no credible intelligence of terror threats in Alabama so far, according to the governor's office.

LOUISIANA

Gov. Bobby Jindal — a GOP presidential contender — said he wants more information from the White House "in hopes that the night of horror in Paris is not duplicated here." Jindal sent a letter to the White House on Saturday, demanding to know how many Syrian refugees have been resettled in his state. He also wants to know the extent of background screening before Syrians entered the US United States as well as what monitoring would be done once the refugees make it to Louisiana.

ARKANSAS

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson tweeted a statement yesterday, saying he opposes Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.

ALABAMA LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY ASA HUTCHINSON BOBBY JINDAL FELLOW REPUBLICAN GOV GREG ABBOTT MIDDLE EASTERN MILLIONS OF SYRIANS PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA QUOT REFUGEES WHITE HOUSE
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