x

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Governor Hutchinson Opposes Relocation Of Syrian Refugees To Arkansas

(KFSM/CNN) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday (Nov. 16) via Facebook and Twitter that he will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to A...
AsaHutchinson

(KFSM/CNN) — Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Monday (Nov. 16) via Facebook and Twitter that he will oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to Arkansas.

The governor also issued this statement:

“As governor, I oppose any facility or installation in Arkansas being used as a Syrian refugee center.   Many of the Syrian refugees are fleeing violence in their own country but Europe, Asia or Africa are logically the best places for resettlement or for temporary asylum.  Syria is a war torn country and the United States will support our European friends in fighting ISIL in Syria and elsewhere; however, this is not the right strategy for the United States to become a permanent place of relocation.  Again, I will oppose Arkansas being used as such a relocation center.

“The hardships facing these refugees and their families are beyond most of our understanding, and my thoughts and prayers are with them, but I will not support a policy that is not the best solution and that poses risk to Arkansans”

On Sunday, authorities revealed at least one of the terrorists behind the attacks in Paris on Friday entered Europe among the current wave of Syrian refugees. He had falsely identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad and was allowed to enter Greece in early October.

Over the weekend, several U.S. governors either opposed taking in any Syrian refugees being relocated as part of a national program or asked that they be particularly scrutinized as potential security threats.

Texas will not accept any Syrian refugees, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Monday on his official account. “I demand the U.S. act similarly,” he tweeted. “Security comes first.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley rejected the possibility of allowing Syrian refugees into his state, and connected refugees with potential terror threats.

“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” Bentley said Sunday in a statement.

“As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

There is currently no credible threat against the state, the governor’s office said. And no Syrian refugees have been relocated to Alabama so far.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was more conciliatory in his language, but still resisted receiving Syrian refugees. He said the state would “put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees.”

“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,” he said in a statement.

Snyder demanded that the Department of Homeland Security review its security procedures for vetting refugees, but avoided blanket suspicion of people from any region.

“It’s also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world,” Snyder said.

Even before Sunday’s revelation, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal complained bitterly in an open letter to President Barack Obama. On Saturday, he said the federal government had not informed his government about refugees being relocated to his state last week.

“It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement,” Jindal said.

He demanded to know more about the people being placed in Louisiana to avoid a repeat of the Paris attacks and wanted to know if screening would be intensified for refugees holding Syrian passports.

And he suggested Obama hold off on taking in more refugees.

“It would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States. Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States,” Jindal said.

Many on social media stressed that Islam is a religion of love and peace and that the terrorists do not, in any way, represent the faith.

Only 1,500 refugees have entered the United States since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year.