South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has joined a growing chorus of executives who are asking federal authorities to not resettle Syrian refugees in their states.
Haley, like many others, is citing concerns over refugees'potential ties to terrorist organizations.
"There remain gaps in available intelligence for those fleeing Syria. This lack of historical and verifiable intelligence with many Syrian refuges makes it difficult, if not impossible, to thoroughly vet individuals seeking to enter the United States as a refugee. Therefore, until I can be assured that all potential refugees from Syria have no ties to terrorist organizations, I am requesting that the State Department not resettle any Syrian refugees in South Carolina in South Carolina," Haley said in a press conference.
Earlier on Monday, Haley expressed that she still supported the idea of refugees finding haven in South Carolina. But after review, she seems to have changed her tune a bit.
She faced criticism for her initial support.
— WBTV News (@WBTV_News) November 16, 2015
Here is what Haley wrote to the State Department:
As governor, it is my first and primary duty to ensure the safety of the the citizens of South Carolina. We are a state that has proudly welcomed refugees from around the world as part of the United States' Refugee Resettlement Program. Refugees are forced to flee their home countries for the most awful reasons, such as religious persecution, and under the most hectic circumstances, such as in the midst of civil war. While I agree that the United States should try to assist individuals in such dire situations, it is precisely because of the situation in Syria that makes their admission into the United States a potential threat.For that reason, I ask that you honor my request and not resettle any Syrian refugees in South Carolina.
More than half of the country's governors (28) now oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states. All but one of these Governors are Republican.
The U.S State Department says it will admit around 85,000 refugees in the 2016 fiscal year – at least 10,000 from Syria.