Update (1520 EST): Gov. Rick Scott has joined Alabama and Michigan by asking Congress to prevent Syrian refugees from being relocated to Florida.
According to Local10, “In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Scott is asking Congress “to take immediate and aggressive action” to prevent President Barack Obama and his administration from using federal tax dollars to fund the relocation of 425 Syrian refugees to Florida.
Scott said in his letter Monday that Florida does not have the authority to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees to the state, but he said that he has ordered the Florida Department of Children and Families to reject any relocation requests that it receives.”
The governors of Alabama and Michigan have said they would oppose any attempts to relocate Syrian refugees to their states days after a terror attack tied to Syria killed at least 129 people in Paris.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a statement Sunday saying Syrian migrants would not be welcome.
“I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” he announced.
“We refuse Syrian refugees,” he reinforced in a Twitter message the same day.
Bentley’s statement came hours after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement of his own that his state would not accept Syrian refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reviewed its procedures.
“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said, “but our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”
Bentley did not explain how he would stop the federal government from relocating anyone emigrating from Syria. Although the U.S. State Department’s nine domestic refugee processing centers is in Mobile, Ala., his statement noted no refugees from Syria have settled in Alabama thus far, although neighboring states have processed some.
His statement was released after Ben Rhodes, White House deputy national security advisor, said in a televised interview the bombings in Paris would not change U.S. policy on accepting refugees of the ongoing civil war in Syria.
“We have very expansive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who have come to the United States. There’s a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our national Counterterrorism Center [and] the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we’re carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States,” Rhodes told Meet the Press Sunday.
Concern about the influx of migrants from Syria was heightened over the weekend after it was revealed one of the militants involved in the Paris attacks may have posed as a Syrian refugee in Turkey.
In 2012, during the Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan, a group of Christian evangelists were pelted with stones, bottles, and debris by Muslim youths (video below).
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