Four GOP governors announce that they will refuse Syrian refugees for no good reason

Republican governors Robert Bentley (Alabama), Asa Hutchinson (Arkansas), Rick Snyder (Michigan) and Greg Abbott (Texas) have all announced today that their states will not accept refugees fleeing Syria, citing concerns that refugees could be linked to Islamic extremism. Senator and Louisiana gubernatorial candidate David Vitter also chimed in on Facebook, calling on President Obama to stop accepting refugees altogether.

That’s right. The same people who insist that they aren’t “Islamophobes” are literally afraid of letting Muslims fleeing violence into their states.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, via Wikimedia Commons

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, via Wikimedia Commons

As Governor Bentley noted, one of the eight attackers in Paris left behind a Syrian passport that was reportedly used to enter Europe from Turkey. However, as MicNews notes, it’s unclear as to whether that passport actually belonged to an attacker, or instead belonged to a victim. As ThinkProgress notes, it is likely that the attackers left this passport behind in order to spark this exact kind of anti-refugee hysteria, as the rest of the attackers were European nationals. In other words, restricting the flow of refugees wouldn’t have prevented the attack.

What’s more, trying to send a would-be terrorist to the United States via the refugee process makes even less sense than it would for Europe, as we have a far more rigorous screening process in place already. This means that if the Islamic State wanted to get someone into the United States, they’d almost certainly do so via alternative means. As Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Daveed Garnstein-Ross told Politifact:

Instead of sitting around hoping you win the refugee lottery and then wait years, then pass the screening to get to America, it would be much easier for a terrorist group to send a person through Europe or put them onto an airplane to the United States…If they could otherwise pass the refugee screening process, they could certainly get on an airplane.

This being the case, all Republican governors are doing by closing their states off from refugees is proving the Islamic State’s point to the rest of the Muslim world: that the West fears them, and does not consider them a welcome part of their self-described “multicultural” society. As far as actually keeping their citizens safe from the actual violent extremists who actually want to do Americans harm, turning away refugees is the opposite of helpful. It doesn’t solve the problem, and it exacerbates the cause.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, for his part, has announced that his state will continue to work with the federal government and receive refugees:

UPDATE: That didn’t take long. Louisiana Governor and soon-to-be-former presidential candidate Bobby Jindal makes it five states who will turn away refugees.

UPDATE UPDATE: Six! That’s two in two minutes since I hit “publish”:


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

Share This Post

  • JaneE

    Are you saying that the vetting we already do for refugees is not adequate?

  • nicho

    You mean rip up the little shreds the conservatives have already torn it into?

  • nicho

    Australia did. It worked.

  • Nonbeliever

    Our way of life being destroyed is an ongoing process that our federal government is behind it is not all the conservatives or liberals fault they are working together. Look at all the RINO’S and DINO’S we have. Specifically placing blame on one party makes no sense and shows a lack of unbiased knowledge to the big picture of both parties involvement

  • Nonbeliever

    I don’t have a solution to that problem and I don’t know who does without causing a civil war and I would not want to be one of the guys who has to go collect citizens guns would you do it?

  • Nonbeliever

    Should the Constitution be ripped up?

  • nicho

    The biggest threat to the country comes from within. Conservatives are hell bent on destroying our way of life.

    Since the attacks in France that killed 129 people, nearly 300 Americans have been killed by firearms. What are conservatives doing to rectify this?

  • Nonbeliever

    Yes and both reps and dems want to know that they will be properly vetted. it is not only the reps that are being demonized by the media that want to know who is coming into the country.

  • Nonbeliever

    There are a handful of dems that want to know that the refugees Will be PROPERLY vetted before letting them in the country. Don’t fall for the MSM and sites like this that are only telling the side of the story they want you to hear. reps and dems are the same now days RINO’S AND DINO’S

  • Nonbeliever

    When have we cared about the constitution it will be worthless paper soon anyway

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    Brava!!

  • CAESAR’S MESSIAH

    Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, the living dead.

  • Cynthia Williams

    When one forgets the past, one is doomed to repeat it.

    http://www.historynet.com/fdr-st-louis.htm

    https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/stlouis.html

    Just one example of what happens when Isolationism rears its ugly head.

    I have no polite words for the utter disgust and anger, nay absolute fury, I feel when elected officials display such utter inhumanity, a total lack of understanding and compassion. Attitudes like these should be anathema to anyone with even a modicum of heart; abhorrent to any human being in particular to anyone claiming to be an American. Have these people no sense of shame?

  • Nonbeliever

    At some point we must stop thinking about individual people and focus on saving the country as a whole

  • Nonbeliever

    When do American people stop paying reparations for our tyrannical federal government’s evils from both dems and reps or is this the price we should pay for not standing up to federal government like the German people not stopping the Nazis?should our innocent children have to pay for our mistakes like we are paying for our parents?

  • nicho

    But what if you don’t want to be a whore?

  • nicho

    Some of my best friends were refugees at one point. They came to the US and made it a better place. Fuck the selfish people. I’ll gladly trade them for refugees any day.

  • Nonbeliever

    Why should we allow refugees into the country? Will they make anything better here? Will they cost us more money or we profit from them? Will the fears the Republicans feel make life harder for us and divide the country? Is it really worth it to cause all this conflict over being right and Taking a chance on these people that will not change anything? Time for America to be selfish and unite together for the greater good of the USA

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  • Doug105
  • 2patricius2

    Pathetic.

  • Zorba

    This is incredibly stupid. But what else can we expect from so many of the Republicans?
    Oh, and maybe somebody ought to tell these governors that we have plenty of potential “terrorists” already here. And I’m not just talking about radical Islamists. I’m also talking about radical Christianists and other assorted total fanatic nut-jobs.

  • nicho

    The only problem is that these governors can’t keep Syrian refugees out. So they’re either incredibly stupid or just blowing smoke up everyone’s skirts — maybe both.

    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/11/16/3722628/no-state-governors-cant-refuse-to-accept-syrian-refugees/?utm_content=buffer3fdc1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  • 2karmanot

    Figures—-Republicans habitually torture and blame the victims.

  • Doug105

    When has that ever stopped them?

  • nicho

    Now you can add Massachusetts to the list. How embarrassing. I was born and raised in MA. Republicans there always used to be sane, but now they’re just as bad as the rest.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2015/11/16/gov-baker-more-syrian-refugees-massachusetts/Z5X1gpE5ws0hh2bsDgb7JK/story.html?p1=feature_stack_2_hp

  • This display of cowardice and xenophobia on the part of Republican governors is not only stupid, it is also likely unconstitutional.

  • JaneE

    Do refugees even have passports? I thought one of the problems was lack of documentation and ID.

  • Indigo

    I can’t say that I connect helpfulness with any of the schemes the Republicans are currently up to.

  • Sally

    I’m in Michigan…trust me, no one wants to come here. Snyder has gutted our education system, refuses to fix infrastructure, and now has jumped on a huge tax increase for roads, which, like the purposely confusing ballot issue last spring, will fail. Then he can blame it all on the people of Michigan. These “christians’ are disgusting. Anyone who votes GOP ever again should be placed in a mental wing.

  • Anyone ever see the movie The Second Civil War? All this kind of reminds me of that movie.

  • The_Fixer

    I’m waiting for Walker to jump on the bandwagon, for no other reason than to increase his credibility among the remaining presidential candidates. I’m sure that the clown bus passengers all would endorse this kind of stupid, backward thinking.

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