Nikki Haley Was Sued for Backing Obama’s Refugee Resettlement to U.S.

Nikki Haley, United States Ambassador to the United Nations, answers questions from report
Cheriss May/NurPhoto/Getty Images

As governor of South Carolina, Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley was sued by a resident of the state for backing former President Obama’s refugee resettlement program.

Over the years, Haley has held differing opinions regarding the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, whereby thousands are resettled across the United States every year — many arriving from some of the most dangerous regions in the world.

For example, three days after the November 13, 2015, terrorist attacks in Paris, France, — when seven Islamic terrorists killed 130 people, including one terrorist who reportedly posed as a Syrian refugee to get into the country — Haley was one of only nine Republican governors who continued supporting then-President Obama’s plan to resettle Syrian refugees across the U.S.

Then, as pressure mounted, late on November 16, 2015, Haley came out against Obama’s resettling Syrians in South Carolina.

Haley, though, made clear that she only opposed the resettlement of Syrian refugees in South Carolina and continued to back the Obama administration’s resettling refugees in the state from other countries.

“While I agree that the United States should try to assist individuals in such dire situations, it is precisely because of the situation in Syria that makes their admission into the United States a potential threat to our national security,” Haley wrote in a letter at the time. “For that reason, I ask that you honor my request and not resettle any Syrian refugees in South Carolina.”

About three months later, South Carolina resident Walter Brian Bilbro sued Haley, as well as other state officials and agencies, to halt the resettlement of refugees in the state.

“I’m not a part of any rightwing groups, not involved with the NRA, just a normal taxpaying citizen who is concerned for the safety of his family,” Bilbro told World Net Daily at the time he filed his lawsuit against Haley. “… somebody’s got to stand up and make a stand, so really, I did it for our children and the children of our state.”

Among Bilbro’s allegations against Haley, he accused her administration of failing to keep records on refugees resettled in South Carolina and claimed the state’s refugee plan was unconstitutional.

Ultimately, in January 2017, a U.S. district judge dismissed the lawsuit.

Questions recently arose regarding Haley’s position on resettling refugees in the U.S. from terrorist-stricken countries after seemingly suggesting to CNN in October 2023 that she supported resettling Gazans in the U.S.

“There are so many of these people who want to be free from this terrorist rule, they want to be free from all of that, and America has always been sympathetic to the fact that you can separate civilians from terrorists, and that’s what we have to do,” Haley said when asked about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) opposition to resettling Gazans.

The following day, a spokesperson for Haley’s campaign told RealClearPolitics she “opposes the U.S. taking Gazans” and said she backs a plan that keeps Gazans in the region.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here


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