Governors Have No Right to Exclude Syrian Refugees


Syrian migrants walk from their landing site toward police authorities after arriving to Lesbos, Greece, July, 27, 2015. Republican governors, presidential candidates and members of Congress pledged Monday to oppose or even defy President Barack Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees, as the party’s bigotry over illegal immigration and border security reached new heights. (Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)Syrian migrants walk from their landing site toward police authorities after arriving to Lesbos, Greece, July, 27, 2015. Republican governors, presidential candidates and members of Congress pledged Monday to oppose or even defy President Barack Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees, as the party’s bigotry over illegal immigration and border security reached new heights. (Sergey Ponomarev / The New York Times)

 

Marjorie Cohn | Truthout | November 19, 2015

As the world reels from the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris last week, more than half of US governors began lining up to scapegoat Syrian refugees fleeing violence in their country. Of those 27 governors, all but one are Republicans. Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire joined the gubernatorial group and called for the United States to refuse to admit those fleeing Syria. Many proclaimed they would deny entry to the refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote to President Barack Obama: “I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.”

A Republican congressman from Tennessee, House Republican Caucus Chair Glen Casada, wants the National Guard to round up Syrian refugees already settled there and prevent others from entering Tennessee. “We need to activate the Tennessee National Guard and stop [Syrian refugees] from coming in to the state by whatever means we can,” he said.

But only the federal government – not the states – has the power to decide if and where refugees can settle in this country.

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