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US Governors Balk at Syrian Refugee Plan in Wake of Paris Attacks

  • VOA News

Migrants and refugees wait in a queue to be allowed to pass from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Nov. 9, 2015.

Migrants and refugees wait in a queue to be allowed to pass from the northern Greek village of Idomeni to southern Macedonia, Nov. 9, 2015.

At least ten U.S. governors are balking at letting Syrian refugees settle in their states in the wake of the Paris attacks, even as President Barack Obama said Monday he has no intention of ending his plan to accept 10,000 refugees from the war-torn country into the United States.

European authorities have found that at least one of the attackers in Friday's deadly onslaught in Paris slipped into Europe amid thousands of Syrians fleeing the country's civil war.

Obama told a news conference in Turkey that Syrian refugees would only be allowed to enter the U.S. "after subjecting them to rigorous screening and security."

He said that "slamming the door on them would be a betrayal of our values." Obama denounced as "shameful, not American" a suggestion by a U.S. Republican presidential contender, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, that only Syrian Christians be allowed to enter the country and not Muslims.

Other Republican presidential candidates, including billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, former neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, have also voiced objections to Obama's Syrian refugee plan in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.

Watch video report from VOA's Zlatica Hoke:

​The three Democratic presidential candidates say they would admit the Syrian refugees, but only after thorough background checks. The leading contender, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, is calling for 65,000 Syrians to be let in to the U.S.

Governor Rick Snyder said Michigan, in the northern-central part of the U.S., has a "rich history of immigration, " but that the "first priority is protecting the safety of our residents."

Another governor, Greg Abbott, in the southwestern state of Texas, told Obama in a letter that he does not believe the federal government can perform "proper security checks."

Governor Robert Bentley in the southern state of Alabama said, "I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm's way."

Republican governors in seven other states also voiced opposition to the national government's Syrian refugee plan, while Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, in the eastern part of the U.S., said he would continue to work with the national government on the Syrian resettlement plan.

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