Governors of Michigan, Alabama reject resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states – The Washington Post


The terrorist attacks in Paris have prompted two governors to announce that Syrian refugees will not be allowed to resettle in their states.

Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan and Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama, both Republicans, issued individual statements Sunday declaring that their states would not be open to refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria.

Noting Michigan’s “rich history of immigration,” Snyder’s statement said, “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

“It’s also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world,” he said.

Snyder had previously been working with the federal government to determine a process for accepting refugees. “Isn’t that part of being a good Michigander?” he told the Detroit Free Press in late September, pointing out the economic and humanitarian benefits of welcoming Syrians.

Snyder said those efforts would now be suspended until further evidence of more rigid security measures.

His reversal follows a statement from Michigan state Rep. Gary Glenn, also a Republican, who said Saturday that the state “should not rush to offer an open door to the high-risk importation of individuals from a known hotbed of Islamic extremism.”

Michigan is home to a sizable Middle Eastern population, with the Detroit metro area having one of the largest in the country. Earlier this month, the city of Hamtramck, Mich., elected America’s first Muslim-majority city council.

According to the Free Press, many Syrians have already settled in Michigan, where 200 have been relocated by one agency in the past year.

In Alabama, no Syrian refugees have been relocated — and none will be allowed to settle there in the future, Bentley said in his statement.

“As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” he declared. “The acts of terror committed over the weekend are a tragic reminder to the world that evil exists and takes the form of terrorists who seek to destroy the basic freedoms we will always fight to preserve.”

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