Following the recent deadly attacks in Paris, the governors of two of the states in the nation are now refusing to settle the Syrian refugees who arrived in the United States recently. Reports from Paris are that a passport has been found on one of the attackers that suggests that they gained access to France by pretending to be one of the Syrian refugees, and this news now has Michigan and Alabama turning away refugees with clams of worry about “gaping holes” that could be impacting America’s screening process.
Alabama’s governor, Robert Bentley released his official statement on the matter late Sunday evening, and claimed that though the likelihood of such an attack occurring would be really low he believes that preventative measures, such as barring all Syrian refugees from entering the state completely, is in the best interest of his people. Governor Bentley was also quick to assure the state’s citizens that the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation would be working closely with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to prevent any terrorist attacks on Alabama soil. The Governor says he will not be “complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.” More Syrian refugees are expected to arrive in the U.S. in the upcoming months, but the spreading decision to fight against the relocations of these people may directly affect this plan.
Michigan is another state that is exercising their power to say no and, amidst an onslaught of disapproval, are also refusing to settle the Syrian refugees that arrived in the U.S. into the state of Michigan. Governor Rick Snyder is mostly under fire for the decision, as he was previously calling for the country to accept more Syrian refugees, and his sudden turnabout is one that he has acknowledged but stands by as he calls for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to fully review their procedures before moving forward.
“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.”
In truth, the State of Michigan does indeed have a large Arab-American population, but the Governor stresses that while the actions of those who carried out the Paris attacks are extremist groups “and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world,” his precaution is necessary. Local Arab-American leaders and refugee advocates understand his concerns but disagree with the method that these two states have taken. They argue that extensive checks are already done by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the governors cries to simply stop the flow of Syrian refugees that are seeking asylum from those same terrorists is “uncalled for” and “really unfair.” Maged Moughni, attorney in Dearborn and Arab-American advocate strongly believes that the refusal to settle the Syrians is wrong.
“It’s doing what ISIS wants… He’s just basically buying into what ISIS wants: Muslims against the West… Gov. Snyder is buying into the rhetoric. I can understand being cautious, but to suspend it is wrong.”
Reportedly despite the fact that other groups of Middle Eastern refugees have been entered into the country only the Syrians will be affected by the stance that Alabama and Michigan are taking. The Lutheran Social Services of Michigan has helped multiple Syrian refugees in their relocation process, and vice President Sean de Four says it is the moral obligation of the United States to help “a humanitarian crisis the world has not seen since World War II.” De Four pointed out that about two thirds of the Syrian refugees coming into the States are women and children.
According to the Detroit Free Press, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller applauds Synder’s decision. Despite her belief that the long history the U.S. has of “helping refugees from across the globe,” making certain that the lives of the citizens of the country are not jeopardized is first priority.
“The fact is, as evidenced by Friday’s horrific attack in Paris, terrorist organizations like ISIS are looking for any and every opportunity to exploit a nation’s hospitality to carry out their barbaric attacks against the innocent. Anyone who says we can adequately and safely vet these refugees is wrong because there is no database in Syria and no way to identify who’s who.”
The Paris attacks left over 129 dead, and responsibility for the attacks was claimed by Islamic State terror group. In the wake of the tragedy, many seem prone to violence and mistrust against all Syrians and Muslims in general, but others are calling for peace and a united front against the terrorists.
[Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images]