Revolt: 22 Sitting GOP Governors Rebel Against President Obama Over Syrian Refugees

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Governors across the country are publicly rejecting President Obama’s plan to relocate Syrian refugees.

The growing number of governors rejecting Syrian refugees comes after reports that one of the suspects in Friday’s Paris terrorist attacks, which killed more than 120 people, had entered Paris by masquerading as a Syrian refugee.

The number of Republican governors who have called for the rejection of the relocation of Syrian refugees in their states continues to climb. Currently, the GOP Governors of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Kansas and Wisconsin have all rejected Obama’s resettlement plan. That means 22 sitting GOP governors have rejected Obama’s plans–and only nine sitting GOP governors haven’t come out against the plan.

In addition, Kentucky’s governor-elect Matt Bevin is publicly opposed to the plan as well, which means when he is sworn in as the next governor of Kentucky there will be at least 23 states with GOP governors opposed to Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement plan. That’s also all in addition to New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan–a Democrat–coming out against President Obama’s plans.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin released a statement saying: “I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures. The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal went so far as to sign an executive order allowing Louisiana officials and law enforcement agencies to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in the state.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback did the same. Brownbeck said:

It is imperative that we take action where the White House has not. I have therefore directed all state agencies, departments, boards or commissions not to participate or assist in the relocation of Syrian refugees to Kansas. It is unfortunate that we must take this step to protect the safety of Kansans, but the federal government cannot guarantee that Syrian refugees coming to America would not be part of a terrorist organization seeking to harm our citizens.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said:

The Obama administration needs to assure the public that the background checks they are doing are rigorous, and that American lives will not be endangered in the process. Until then, I call on the Obama administration to suspend any Syrian refugees into the United States. During these uncertain times the Obama administration needs to make sure those entering the United States are not terrorists.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio said in a statement that he, “doesn’t believe the U.S. should accept additional Syrian refugees because security and safety issues cannot be adequately addressed.”

On Hugh Hewitt’s radio program on Monday, New Jersey’s Chris Christie said America shouldn’t take any Syrian refugees–even orphans–into the U.S.

“I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in, in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in,” Christie said.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said he is opposed as well. Bryant said in a statement:

I’m currently working with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Office of Homeland Security to determine the current status of any Syrian refugees that may be brought to our state in the near future. I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi. The policy of bringing these individuals into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous. I’ll be notifying President Obama of my decision today to resist this potential action.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has asked for resettlement to be suspended, saying: “Today I’m asking the federal government to suspend placements in Tennessee until states can become more of a partner in the vetting process.”

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said: “We have an act of war going on that could come to our country and my job as governor is to protect the people of our state while also showing empathy to those people who are being harmed by terrorists.”

Idaho’s Gov. Butch Otter said on Monday: “While I understand that immigration and refugee resettlement are authorized under federal law, I am duty-bound to do whatever I can to protect the people of Idaho from harm.”

Maine Gov. Paul LePage said that it’s irresponsible for the United States to accept refugees. “Remember 9/11? I think some people came through Maine, and they did a lot of damage in New York,” said LePage “I think we’ve got to be very diligent, very on top of this issue.”

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said in a statement: “While I understand the danger and persecution many are facing in the Middle East, it is important that our state and our nation consider the safety and security of Nebraskans and Americans first in any refugee resettlement efforts. The terrorist attacks that occurred over the weekend in Paris are a solemn reminder of the reach and strength of ISIS and their agents.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told reporters Monday: “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria… I would need to know a lot more than I know now before I would agree to do anything.”

Governor-elect Matt Bevin of Kentucky said Monday in a statement: “My primary responsibility as Governor of Kentucky will be to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth. This is why I am joining with other governors across the country in opposing the resettlement of Syrian nationals until we can better determine the full extent of any risks to our citizens.”

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has also rejected Syrian refugees. He said in a statement: “Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration… But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said in a statement that his state would stop taking in Syrian refugees. Rauner said:

Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday that “given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a stern letter to President Obama saying that his state, which has dealt with the threat of ISIS, will not accept Syrian refugees.

“Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity,” Abbott wrote. “As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”

“The threat posed to Texas by ISIS is real,” Abbott added. “ISIS claimed credit last May when two terrorist gunmen launched an attack in Garland, Texas. Less than two weeks later, the FBI arrested an Iraqi-born man in North Texas and charged him with lying to federal agents about traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement: “Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers.” The statement continued: “Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect.”

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley wrote in a statement that, “after full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”

Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia suspended the resettlement of Syrian refugees, arguing that “a halt in refugee admissions and critical review of the screening process will help ensure the safety of Georgians and Americans.”

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to, “Please take any action available through the powers of the United States Congress to prevent federal allocation toward the relocation of Syrian refugees without extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security.”

“As Governor I will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Monday.

Breitbart News reached out to every single Republican Governor in America to ask their stance on the relocation of Syrian refugees in their state. The following governors did not respond to a request for comment: New Mexico’s Susan Martinez, North Dakota’s Jack Dalrymple, Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, South Dakota’s Dennis Daugaard, and Matt Mead of Wyoming.

But not all Republicans who have spoken out so far have rejected Syrian refugees. Three governors have refused to follow the lead of the majority of Republican governors.

When Breitbart News reached out to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Herbert’s press secretary sent a statement that did not say whether or not he will allow Syrian resettlement in his state, but that the Governor will work to ensure the safety of the people of Utah. Herbert spokesman Jon Cox said in an email:

Gov. Herbert joins with those who mourn the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. In the wake of these attacks, the governor will aggressively pursue a course of action that provides for the safety and security of Utahns. The governor has directed the Utah Department of Public Safety to immediately reevaluate the security checks currently used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security as part of Utah’s refugee program. The highest duty of a governor is to protect public safety. Working together with our congressional delegation, the governor will diligently assess these security protocols, and if warranted, implement a change in state policy. Utahns are well known for our compassion for those who are fleeing the violence in their homeland, and we will work to do all we can to ease their suffering without compromising public safety.

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says that he is concerned about the refugees, but is unwilling to close Iowa’s borders. He added that he doesn’t believe that states have the authority to deny the refugees.

“I don’t know that the states have the authority to decide whether or not we can take refugees– this is a federal program,” Branstad said. “But I share the concern of the other governors about the safety and welfare of our citizens after what we saw happen in Paris.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley hasn’t said no to Syrian resettlement, but she said that: “If we think in any way South Carolinians are in danger, we will change our policy.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has yet to decide, but has promised to make a careful decision.

“We have been in contact with the Obama administration,” Hogan said Monday. “We are going to make a very reasoned and careful decision about what we do here in Maryland.”


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.