Updated | In light of the Paris attacks, numerous governors have come out in opposition to accepting Syrian refugees into their states, while some have said they favor doing so and others have yet to receive any refugees.
One of the Paris attackers, believed to be a member of the Islamic State, detonated a suicide belt outside a soccer stadium and a Syrian passport was found near his body. Though the passport has not been authenticated, it set off concerns about jihadists entering the U.S. under the cloak of refugee status.
Here’s where every governor stands on the issue:
Alabama, Governor Robert Bentley, Republican
“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. As your Governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.
“The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is working diligently with the FBI, DHS and federal intelligence partners to monitor any possible threats. Law enforcement presence has been increased at major gathering events in Alabama to further insure the safety of citizens. To date, there has been no credible intelligence of any terrorist threats in Alabama.
“Alabama currently has one U.S. State Department approved refugee processing center in Mobile. There have been no Syrian refugees relocated in Alabama to date, though neighboring states have processed a number of refugees.
“The acts of terror committed over the weekend are a tragic reminder to the world that evil exists and takes the form of terrorists who seek to destroy the basic freedoms we will always fight to preserve. I will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people. Please continue to join me in praying for those who have suffered loss and for those who will never allow freedom to fade at the hands of terrorists,” Bentley added.
Alaska, Governor Bill Walker, Independent
“With a $3.5 billion budget deficit, Governor Walker has been focused on solving the state’s fiscal challenges. This is not something he has considered.”
Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey, Republican
“Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona. As governor, I am invoking our state’s right under 8 USC, Section 1522 (a), to receive immediate consultation by federal authorities per the United States Refugee Act, and that the federal government take into account the concerns and recommendations of the state of Arizona as they are required to under federal law, in our efforts to keep our homeland safe. I also call on Congress and the President to immediately amend federal law to provide states greater oversight and authority in the administration of the placement of refugees. These acts serve as a reminder that the world remains at war with radical Islamic terrorists. Our national leaders must react with the urgency and leadership that every American expects to protect our citizens.”
Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson, Republican
See my full statement on Syrian refugees below. pic.twitter.com/Y2m7ThqCCK— Gov. Asa Hutchinson (@AsaHutchinson) November 16, 2015
California, Governor Jerry Brown, Democrat
"I intend to work closely with the President so that he can both uphold America’s traditional role as a place of asylum, but also ensure that anyone seeking refuge in America is fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way. You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to protect the people of our state."
Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, Democrat
"A few short days ago we witnessed another senseless act of terrorism. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of those lost and injured in Paris, and in other acts of terror around the world. Our first priority remains the safety of our residents. We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible. We can protect our security and provide a place where the world’s most vulnerable can rebuild their lives."
Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy, Democrat
"Obviously in light of the tragedy in Paris, we have questions about the Department of Homeland Security's screening measures for refugees entering our country. We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country – seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut."
Delaware, Governor Jack Markell, Democrat
“The Governor supports the President's decision to provide asylum for refugees in the United States. It is unfortunate that anyone would use the tragic events in Paris to send a message that we do not understand the plight of these refugees, ignoring the fact that the people we are talking about are fleeing the perpetrators of terror. The safety of our citizens is always a top concern.
“And while any security system can always be improved, the federal refugee review system has the highest level of security checks of any traveler to American shores, including biometric and biographic checks and in-person overseas interviews by federal officials trained to ensure the applicant is a bona fide refugee and not a security risk. That system involves multiple agencies, including the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense.
“If the federal government decides to place some of those refugees directly in Delaware, the Governor would work with our federal partners, while expecting them to recognize that the federal government must provide or pay for any services these individuals may need.
The governor added: “Ronald Reagan once stood for ‘America’s tradition as a land that welcomes peoples from other countries,’ and one that shares with other countries ‘the responsibility of welcoming and resettling those who flee oppression.’ It is a shame the Republicans nationally who would close our borders do not share Reagan’s commitment to America being a welcoming country to those seeking safety from fear and persecution.”
Florida, Governor Rick Scott, Republican
Rick Scott to Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell: defund Syrian Refugee-Care pic.twitter.com/zfv8twvuwy— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 16, 2015
Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal, Republican
“In light of the terror attacks in Paris, I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia,” said Deal. "Further, I call upon the Obama administration to work with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to confirm the backgrounds of the 59 Syrian refugees recently resettled to ensure they do not pose a security threat to our citizens. Until the federal government and Congress conducts a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks, we will take every measure available to us at the state level to ensure the safety of Georgians.”
Hawaii, Governor David Ige, Democrat
“Our first priority is the safety of the American people, including the people of the State of Hawai‘i.
“The U.S. accepts refugees, including Syrians, only after they are subjected to the most vigorous and highest level of screening and security vetting.
“As President Obama has said – slamming the door in their face would be a betrayal of our values. Hawai‘i and our nation have a long history of welcoming refugees impacted by war and oppression. Hawai‘i is the Aloha State, known for its tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect. I am confident that our state will work closely with the federal government to ensure that appropriate resources and support are available before any refugees arrive in Hawai‘i.”
Idaho, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Republican
“It makes no sense under the best of circumstances for the United States to allow people into our country who have the avowed desire to harm our communities, our institutions and our people. The savage and senseless ISIS-driven attacks in Paris illustrate the essential inhumanity of terrorism and make it clearer than ever that we must make protecting our homeland from this threat our primary focus.”
In a letter, the governor urged President Barack Obama to join in shouldering the “shared priority” of safety for American citizens. “While I understand that immigration and refugee resettlement are authorized under federal law, I am duty-bound to do whatever I can to protect the people of Idaho from harm,” he wrote. “Instead of Congress rubber-stamping this program each year, we ask that you and Congress work with states and governors to thoroughly review this process and how states are affected.”
Meantime, he vowed to “use any legal means available to me to protect the citizens I serve.”
“It is my desire, and should be your goal, to reassure the people of Idaho that their views are respected and that consideration is given to enabling states to opt out of the refugee resettlement program,” wrote Otter, who is traveling to Las Vegas on Tuesday for a Republican Governors Association meeting and will discuss the issue with his colleagues.
Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner, Republican
"Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
Indiana, Governor Mike Pence, Republican
“In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved. Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers. Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect.”
Iowa, Governor Terry Branstad, Republican
“I share the concern of the other governors about the safety and well-being of our citizens, after what we saw happen in Paris. We don’t want to become like Europe, where they let all these refugees in, and now they’re faced with sending their police out to try to find out and round up the dangerous embedded ISIS militants that are part of it.
“I don’t want people coming here without very careful vetting to make sure that there’s no likelihood that they could have been radicalized or could be part of an ISIS operation.”
Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback, Republican
“My first priority as Governor is the safety of all Kansans. We must take immediate action to ensure terrorists do not enter the nation or our state under the guise of refugee resettlement. The recent attacks in Paris coupled with terrorist organizations indicating a desire to attack the United States are stark reminders of the dangers every nation faces.
“It is imperative that we take action where the White House has not.
“I have therefore directed all state agencies, departments, boards or commissions not to participate or assist in the relocation of Syrian refugees to Kansas. It is unfortunate that we must take this step to protect the safety of Kansans, but the federal government cannot guarantee that Syrian refugees coming to America would not be part of a terrorist organization seeking to harm our citizens.
“America has always provided a refuge for the oppressed and those who seek freedom. However, we must be sure that we are not admitting terrorists as we try to help the innocents who desire the opportunity for a better life and the basic liberty of religious freedom. Most people seeking refugee status are peaceful individuals looking for a better life. But we cannot allow an influx of Syrian refugees, without any meaningful security checks, while ISIS is promising to infiltrate the refugee process.
“Our resources can be better used to help persecuted Syrians. We must consider whether refugees fleeing the persecution of their home country may be better served by resettlement in a friendly nation closer to their homes. Though America will continue to be a country that defends the oppressed, our allies in the region must also step up to stem the tide of this humanitarian crisis.”
Kentucky, Governor Elect Matt Bevin, Republican
"The recent terrorist attacks in Paris serve as a warning to the entire civilized world that we must remain vigilant. It is imperative that we do everything in our power to prevent any similar attack by evildoers from taking place here in America.
My primary responsibility as Governor of Kentucky will be to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth. This is why I am joining with other governors across the country in opposing the resettlement of Syrian nationals until we can better determine the full extent of any risks to our citizens."
Louisiana, Governor Bobby Jindal, Republican
I just signed an Executive Order instructing state agencies to take all available steps to stop the relocation of Syrian refugees to LA.— Gov. Bobby Jindal (@BobbyJindal) November 16, 2015
Maine, Governor Paul LePage, Republican
"The thoughts and prayers of the First Lady and I are with the People of France as they mourn those killed in Friday’s despicable terrorist attack in Paris. As Franco-Americans, we say with a special conviction, ‘nous n'oublierons jamais—‘we will never forget.’”
We now know that not only has ISIS claimed credit for this attack, but at least one of the attackers was a Syrian refugee. We also know that President Barack Obama has vowed to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States, despite his own FBI director testifying to Congress last month that the federal government is unable to conduct background checks on them.
To bring Syrian refugees into our country without knowing who they are is to invite an attack on American soil just like the one we saw in Paris last week and in New York City on 9/11. That is why I adamantly oppose any attempt by the federal government to place Syrian refugees in Maine, and will take every lawful measure in my power to prevent it from happening.
The safety of Maine citizens comes first, and it is about time the United States and Europe wake up to the nature of the threat against us in the form of radical terrorism."
Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan, Republican
"As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority. Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety."
Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker, Republican
"I would say no as of right now. No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria."
Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder, Republican
“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. Given the terrible situation in Paris, I've directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures.
“There will be difficult days ahead for the people of France and Lebanon, and they remain in our thoughts and prayers. 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.”
Minnesota, Governor Mark Dayton, Democrat
"My first priority is to protect the safety of the people of Minnesota. I have been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”
Mississippi, Governor Phil Bryant, Republican
“I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama Administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi. The policy of bringing these individuals into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous. I’ll be notifying President Obama of my decision today to resist this potential action.”
Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon, Democrat
“The safety of Missourians is my highest priority, and the terrorists who were involved in planning and perpetrating the attacks in Paris much be caught and brought to justice. The screening process for refugees is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and I call on our federal partners to implement the strongest possible safeguards to protect our state and nation.”
Montana, Governor Steve Bullock, Democrat
“Montana will not allow any terrorist organization to intimidate us into abandoning our values. The safety of Montanans is my top priority. No Syrian refugees have been settled in the state and we have had no formal requests to do so.
"Montana has a process in place for considering refugee settlement requests; we are reviewing those protocols to ensure that if a request comes, we take all appropriate steps to ensure that the safety of Montanans will not be jeopardized by their placement. If there are safety concerns about any refugees that are requesting settlement, they will be denied.”
Nebraska, Governor Pete Ricketts, Republican
“Dear Resettlement Agencies:
“I am writing to advise you that in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris my administration opposes efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in Nebraska until security concerns have been fully addressed. While it is my understanding that no Syrian refugees have been resettled in Nebraska to date, I am requesting that your organization and all refugee resettlement agencies in our state decline to participate in potential resettlement efforts.
“Nebraska is a welcoming place for families seeking a home to live, work, and raise a family. My administration understands the danger and persecution many are facing in the Middle East, however, it is important that our state consider the safety and security of Nebraskans first in any refugee resettlement efforts. The terrorist attacks that occurred over the weekend in Paris are a solemn reminder of the reach and strength of ISIS and their agents. As ISIS has grown in strength in the Middle East, it appears that they have successfully recruited or dispatched members of their organization outside the region.
“Subsequent news that at least one of the suicide bombers in Paris was a Syrian, who had traveled to France via Greece, has highlighted the necessity of taking every precaution to ensure that refugees originating from Syria do not have ties to ISIS or other terrorist organizations.
“Until the Department of Homeland Security has conducted a full review of security screening measures and taken every necessary step to strengthen them, my administration will oppose any effort to resettle Syrian refugees in our state.
“Very shortly, I will be sharing a similar letter with President Obama urging him to end resettlement efforts until these concerns have been addressed. I have also instructed the
“Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to oppose any potential resettlement efforts in our state.
“Once again, I urge your organization not to pursue efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in the United States until our country has surveyed and addressed these concerns.”
Nevada, Governor Brian Sandoval, Republican
"Like many of my fellow governors, I am concerned first and foremost with the security of my state in the aftermath of Friday’s tragic events in Paris. It is in the interest of all Nevadans and the millions who travel to our state annually to insist on extensive evaluations of any potential risk individuals may pose to Nevada or our national security. Earlier today, I asked state agencies to help determine the total number of refugees currently in Nevada. I have also contacted the White House and will follow up with a letter to President Obama requesting a review of the refugee eligibility, security, funding and notification processes for resettlement programs conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U. S. State Department and related agencies. We must balance our nation's role as an international leader with the safety and security of our citizens and visitors."
New Hampshire, Governor Maggie Hassan, Democrat
“Governor Hassan joins all Granite Staters and all Americans in mourning with and sending our thoughts and prayers to the people of France following these horrific acts of terror. Protecting the safety and security of our people is the first responsibility of government. The Governor has always made clear that we must ensure robust refugee screening to protect American citizens, and the Governor believes that the federal government should halt acceptance of refugees from Syria until intelligence and defense officials can assure that the process for vetting all refugees, including those from Syria, is as strong as possible to ensure the safety of the American people.
“Governor Hassan and state emergency management officials are working with federal Homeland Security, the FBI and local police departments to exercise extra vigilance in light of the Paris attacks and the Governor will continue to ensure that the state is taking necessary precautions to protect the safety of Granite Staters.”
New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie, Republican
Because he lacks confidence in Administration's vetting ability, @ChrisChristie says no Syrian refugees now, not even "3 year old orphans"— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) November 16, 2015
New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez, Republican
"The Governor’s top priority is keeping New Mexico’s families safe. In light of the attacks in Paris, she has directed all relevant state agencies to work closely with federal authorities to help prevent and respond to threats of any nature.
The Governor strongly opposes the Obama Administration’s plan to accept more Syrian refugees until there is a very clear plan in place to properly vet and place the refugees, and the voices of governors and the public can be heard."
New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat
In a question and answer session Tuesday morning at Harvard Kennedy School, Cuomo had this conversation with David Gergen:
"Gergen: Let me ask you one last question. I want to come back to the Paris question and the migrant issue which is now flaring up as a serious issue. You're take on this? You're under enormous press pressure as Governor to take a stand about the migrants and are we going to have an open door and welcome them as the President wants, 10,000, more than 10,000 or are we going to listen to those voices now that are rising to say 'No, no, no, no, too dangerous.'
"Cuomo: I think it's a balance. I think many forces are now trying to politicize this. This is an election season, so the silly season has started and the Governors can say 'I will refuse to let the refugees in.' How? How? Where does it say in the state constitution 'you can refuse a person placed by the federal government?' What are you going to have your militia fight the federal government at the borders of your state? It's a pure political statement. It's up to the federal government. If the federal government lets refugees in and places them in your state, the Governor has no authority to turn them down. Having said that, the question is a bona fide question. We have to protect Americans and not lose our soul as America in the process. Right? The day America says, 'Close the gates, build the wall,' then I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you've gone to a different place and read Emma Lazarus and the poem on the statue of liberty 'Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.' Once you say we're out of business, that's no longer true. So, I won't let them win by conceding defeat of the American Dream. At the same time, this federal government needs to make sure it's doing the screening and the people that are coming in are safe and the federal government has to say 'we are capable of doing that.' And if the federal government is not capable of doing that, David, then they should say that too. If you really can't screen, then the answer is 'We can't screen' but their position is 'We can screen. We can screen effectively' and if that's the case, do the screening, make sure it's right, do it exhaustively, but don't give up your soul as America.
"Gergen: Do have some fear that with the question of Syria, refugees, is going to become conflated with the question of the immigrants who are already here, the Latin immigrants who are here, the 11 or 12 million that this is going to get all roiled together and there is going to be a big push against all of it?
"Cuomo: Yeah, I think in about 27 minutes because the next time you have Donald Trump on the podium he's just going to rattle off 'Syrian refugees' and the whole line of he's going to have them with the Mexicans, you know, this afternoon probably. And it will just blend into the larger question of 'We have economic problems. They're stealing our jobs. They're too expensive. These immigrants that we coming in, we can't pay for their health care. We can't pay for their education. They're stealing the bottom-end jobs. Kick them out.' And the Syrian refugees are part of that."
North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory, Republican
My 1st priority is to protect the people of NC. That is why I am requesting federal gov’t cease sending Syrian refugees to our state #ncpol— Pat McCrory (@PatMcCroryNC) November 16, 2015
North Dakota, Governor Jack Dalrymple, Republican
"First and foremost, we need to make sure our citizens are safe and secure. State officials are in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and have called upon the department to make absolutely sure that all refugees receive the highest level of background and security screening before consideration for resettlement."
Ohio, Governor John Kasich, Republican
Gov. Kasich says NO to new Syrian refugees in Ohio. https://t.co/cBvy2YCL3m— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) November 16, 2015
Oklahoma, Governor Mary Fallin, Republican
Governor Mary Fallin today urged President Barack Obama to suspend accepting Syrian refugees into the United States in the wake of deadly terror attacks in Paris being linked to the Islamic State.
“The Obama administration needs to assure the public that the background checks they are doing are rigorous, and that American lives will not be endangered in the process,” said Fallin. “Until then, I call on the Obama administration to suspend any Syrian refugees into the United States. During these uncertain times, the Obama administration needs to make sure those entering the United States are not terrorists.”
During a U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing last week, FBI Director James Comey said there is a risk bringing anybody in from the outside, but especially from a conflict zone like Syria.
“The American people need to be assured that national security will not be compromised,” said Fallin. “We must maintain a strict verification process against possible terrorists.”
The governor said she has confidence in the two refugee processing affiliates in the state. Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and Catholic Charities in Tulsa have the responsibility of placing refugees in the state.
Since 2012, three refugees from Syria have been placed in Jenks, according to information from Catholic Charities in Tulsa and the U.S. Department of State. The three, aged 50, 44 and 14, were brought to Jenks to live with family members.
Catholic Charities in Tulsa and in Oklahoma City predominantly only assist refugees seeking family reunification.
“Oklahomans have welcomed refugees escaping religious persecution for many years and will continue to do so,” Fallin said.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s latest report , no refugees from Syria were admitted to Oklahoma during October. The State Department’s Refugee Processing Center reported 54 refugees came to Oklahoma during October. All were from Burma."
Oregon, Governor Kate Brown, Democrat
"The words on the Statue of Liberty apply in Oregon just as they do in every other state. Clearly, Oregon will continue to accept refugees—they bring their hopes and dreams to America, and we will continue to welcome them and open the doors of opportunity."
Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf, Democrat
“While details are still emerging regarding the individuals responsible for the heinous attacks in Paris, all of those responsible committed atrocious acts and must be brought to justice. We must not lose sight of the fact that families leaving Syria are trying to escape the same violence and unimaginable terror that took place in Paris and Beirut.
“To assist the settlement of families fleeing the humanitarian crisis in Syria, the Federal Government coordinates with local charitable organizations in Pennsylvania and other states. Pennsylvania will continue working with the Federal Government to ensure that all individuals have gone through the proper screening process. Governor Wolf wants Pennsylvania to continue to build on its rich history of accepting immigrants and refugees from around the world but he is also committed to protecting Pennsylvanians and will work with the Federal Government to ensure it is taking every precaution necessary in screening those families coming into the country.”
Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo, Democrat
“We haven’t received any requests to help, so there’s nothing to decide at the moment. If a request is made, we will coordinate closely with the White House and with Col. O’Donnell. Anything Rhode Island may do in the future to support our nation’s efforts to respond to this humanitarian crisis and help those in need must include robust background checks and security procedures to keep Rhode Islanders safe.”
South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley, Republican
On Monday afternoon, Haley offered this statement: "If we think in any way whatsoever that South Carolinians are going to be in danger, we are going to change our policy. These are people who have protected our troops, these are people who have been persecuted for being Christian, these are people who have been hurt because of their political beliefs, these are people who we took in because they were unsafe where they were. In light of the president’s comments, we want to make sure nothing is changing. Today I have phone calls in to Homeland Security as well as the FBI just to make sure we know."
Later, a letter she sent to Secretary of State John Kerry was made public, in which she asked Syrian refugees not to be resettled in South Carolina. "After reviewing recent public statements and personally speaking today with intelligence officials, it is my understanding that while our national security agencies are working tirelessly to vet potential refugees, there remain gaps in available intelligence for those fleeing Syria," she wrote. "For that reason, I ask that you honor my request and not resettle any Syrian refugees in South Carolina."
South Dakota, Governor Dennis Daugaard, Republican
“South Dakota has not received any Syrian refugees and we do not believe we are going to. If that changes, the Governor would explore the state's options but it is not at all clear that the state has any say over this. Refugees are managed by the federal government.”
Tennessee, Governor Bill Haslam, Republican
“As we mourn the loss of innocent life from Friday’s horrific and cowardly attacks in Paris, these terrible events have once again shown us that the threat of Islamic terrorism knows no boundaries and recognizes no borders. We as a state must do everything we can to provide Tennesseans the safe environment to live, work and raise a family that so many across the world seek.
“Since Friday the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and this administration has actively shared information with our local public safety partners across Tennessee.
“We are currently working to get specifics from the U.S. Department of State on the status of any Syrian refugees currently slated to come to Tennessee. While screening, acceptance and placement is legally under the authority of the federal government, they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states. Today I’m asking the federal government to suspend placements in Tennessee until states can become more of a partner in the vetting process.”
Texas, Governor Greg Abbott, Republican
“Dear President Obama:
“As governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.
“Further, I - and millions of Americans - implore you to halt your plans to accept more Syrian refugees in the United States. A Syrian "refugee" appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack. American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger. The reasons for such concerns are plentiful.
“The FBI director testified to Congress that the federal government does not have the background information that is necessary to effectively conduct proper security checks on Syrian nationals, Director Comey explained: 'We can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.'
“The threat posed to Texas by ISIS is very real. ISIS claimed credit last May when two terrorist gunmen launched an attack in Garland, Texas. Less than two weeks later, the FBI arrested an Iraqi-born man in North Texas and charged him with lying to federal agents about traveling to Syria to fight with ISIS. And in 2014, when I served as Texas attorney general, we participated in a Joint Terrorism Task Force that arrested two Austin residents for providing material support to terrorists - including ISIS.
“Given the tragic attack in Paris and the threats we have already seen in Texas, coupled with the FBI director's acknowledgment that we do not have the information necessary to effectively vet Syrian nationals, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees - any one of whom could be connected to terrorism - being resettled in Texas.
“Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas. And I urge you, as president, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States. Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity. As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
Utah, Governor Gary Herbert, Republican
“Gov. Herbert joins with those who mourn the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France. In the wake of these attacks, the governor will aggressively pursue a course of action that provides for the safety and security of Utahns. The governor has directed the Utah Department of Public Safety to immediately reevaluate the security checks currently used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of State, and the Department of Homeland Security as part of Utah’s refugee program. The highest duty of a governor is to protect public safety. Working together with our congressional delegation, the governor will diligently assess these security protocols, and if warranted, implement a change in state policy.
“Utahns are well known for our compassion for those who are fleeing the violence in their homeland, and we will work to do all we can to ease their suffering without compromising public safety.”
Vermont, Governor Peter Shumlin, Democrat
“The governors who are taking those actions are stomping on the qualities that make America great. There is an extensive screening process in place for refugees that come to America and Vermont. I have faith in that process. The Syrian refugees are fleeing horrific violence and war. They are men, women, and children who are fearing for their lives and have no place to go. The question we should be asking is how can we help.”
Virginia, Governor Terry McAuliffe, Democrat
“The Governor is following the tragic events in France and sends his deepest condolences to all people affected by those senseless acts of terrorism. Nothing is more important to the Governor and his team than keeping Virginians safe. He has asked Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and his team to maintain close contact with federal and local authorities in order to ensure that we are taking every step we can to protect our communities.
“With respect to refugees, the Governor and his public safety team are in constant communication with federal authorities about all refugee resettlements, including those involving refugees from Syria. Every refugee who is settled in the U.S. undergoes intensive security screening, and the Governor has asked Secretary Moran to ensure that every proper precaution is taken to keep Virginians safe.”
Washington, Governor Jay Inslee, Democrat
“Last week the world witnessed the latest in a series of atrocities committed by the terrorist organization ISIS. It was an attack not just on Paris or the French people but on all humanity.
“First and foremost we stand with the people of Paris and those in Beirut and elsewhere who have been attacked by the evil that is ISIS. ISIS is a terrorist organization, one that must be destroyed and erased from this planet. I am glad to see U.S. forces acting strongly in Syria today.
“Sadly, in the wake of these attacks, many people channel their fear and anger against ISIS into fear and anger against Muslims. At a time when millions of Syrian families are attempting to flee ISIS and seek refuge in safer parts of the world, including the United States, there are some who say it’s time to close our doors to people whose lives are in peril.
“I stand firmly with President Obama who said this morning, ‘We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.’
“Washington will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice. We have been and will continue to be a state that embraces compassion and eschews fear mongering, as evidenced so well by Republican Gov. Dan Evans’ welcoming of Vietnamese refugees here in the 1970s.
“It’s important to note that governors do not decide whether refugees come to their states. Those decisions are made by the federal government, and the U.S. State Department has a robust system in place to evaluate and place families who seek refugee status.
“That makes these anti-refugee comments by governors even more troublesome and of little value except to divide people and foment intolerance.”
West Virginia, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Democrat
“The Governor’s Office has not been contacted by the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement regarding large-scale placements of Syrian refugees, and we do not anticipate a federal request for placement of refugees in West Virginia. Any smaller placements likely would take more than a year to occur. In any case, the state would ensure that proper security screening was conducted by federal and state officials.”
Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker, Republican
“In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens. Along with governors across the country, I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee. In consultation with our Adjutant General, who also serves as my Homeland Security Advisor, it is clear that the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat.
"With this in mind, I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures. The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees.
"There may be those who will try to take advantage of the generosity of our country and the ability to move freely within our borders through this federal resettlement program, and we must ensure we are doing all we can to safeguard the security of Americans.
“Furthermore, I am opposed to recently introduced legislation encouraging the state to accept Syrian refugees in Wisconsin.”
Wyoming, Governor Matt Mead, Republican
“Governor Mead was saddened to hear of the attacks on the people of Paris and sends his thoughts and prayers.
"Wyoming has never had a refugee resettlement program.
"The governor is concerned about the security of the state and the nation. He believes we need strong security measures at the state and national level.”
This story has been updated to include new statements from several governors.