By John Celock
A growing list of Republican governors around the country have said they want to block Syrian refugees from being settled in their states.
As of Monday afternoon, 10 Republican governors have called on President Barack Obama not to relocate Syrian refugees to their states. They have cited reports that several of those who participated in Friday’s ISIS terrorist attack in Paris entered Europe posing as Syrian refugees.
“What I request for governors is we learn who these people are and what their backgrounds are,” North Carolina Pat McCrory (R) said at a press conference Monday afternoon. “If there are potential threats we know where to follow through.”
In addition to McCrory, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and Florida Gov. Rick Scott have all announced they did not want Syrian refugees sent to their states.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) did not join with her GOP colleagues and said that she would welcome Syrian refugees to her state, foxcarolina.com reported. She said though that the refugees would need more scrutiny by the federal government.
McCrory said that he wants Obama to “cease sending refugees” to North Carolina until the federal government has completed background checks and provided the information to state leaders. McCrory said that the effort by Republicans governors was not coordinated but said that he and his GOP colleagues would likely be discussing the situation later this week at a Republican Governors Association conference in Las Vegas.
During his press conference, McCrory said that the refugees, of which only several dozen have been sent to most of the states, are put in contact with social services agencies and the state government is not consulted. He said the costs are paid by the states through federal funds. He said that his homeland security staff has been reviewing the cases.
In addition to the governors who have made the announcements, Republicans in Delaware have called on Gov. Jack Markell (D) to change his policy on Syrian refugees. In Missouri, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R) has called on Gov. Jay Nixon (D) to do the same. Kinder is running in the 2016 GOP primary to succeed the term limited Nixon.
“We must be certain the federal government’s security measures are thorough and effectively implemented and that terrorists are not coming to Missouri masquerading as refugees,” Kinder wrote to Nixon.
Democrats have largely attacked the decision on social media who said that the states should be showing compassion to those fleeing ISIS. U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted that Baker should focus on those who need to leave Syria.
McCrory said that he knew that people are fleeing Syria but that public safety was at the top of his decision making process.
“I emphasize with these people who are dealing with unimaginable atrocities from ISIS. What worries me is that some of these people may be ISIS.”
Update 3:19 p.m.
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) became the first Democratic governor Monday to call on Obama to have the federal government halt accepting Syrian refugees. Hassan’s statement did not indicate if she would ask that refugees not be sent to New Hampshire.