One reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris that left 129 dead and scores injured is the push-back from states against allowing Syrian refugees into the US. Over half of US states have informed President Obama that they will not accept refugees from Syria over their borders.
Texas Governor Greg Abbot sent a letter to the president requesting that the entire program to resettle refugees in the US be frozen.
“I urge you, as president, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States,” Abbott said in the letter. “Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity. As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
The protests of the states might not have any teeth since immigration and refugee policies are set by the federal government and the State Department. However this fact does not mean the states can’t pressure the president, putting the administration on the defensive when they announce plans to permit as many as 10,000 refugees into the US during 2016.
Advocates of the resettlement of refugees in the US say there is nothing for the states to be afraid of. They would like to see the program proceed as planned, saying that there is a long and difficult vetting process that takes place before anyone is allowed into the US under refugee status.
“It is extremely unlikely that someone who is a terrorist will be sent through the refugee resettlement program,” Greg Chen, director of advocacy at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “It takes a great deal of time, and it wouldn’t make sense for someone who is a terrorist for someone to go through that process. There are going to be easier ways for a terrorist to try to infiltrate, rather than going through the refugee resettlement program.”