Looks like the terrorists are already winning. Following Friday’s attacks in Paris by eight terrorists, the governors of Alabama, Michigan, Texas, and Arkansas have announced that they won’t accept any Syrian refugees for relocation in their states, because they are terrified. Mission accomplished, ISIS.
Update: More states have joined the ParanoiaFest; see end of post
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley’s official announcement managed to sound super-tough, to reassure the citizens of the Chickenhawk State that they needn’t fear any scary Muslims:
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 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
It’s awful nice to know Bentley has given the events “full consideration” before we have any particular information on who the Paris attackers were or whether they were French citizens or foreign fighters, or some combination. The one Syrian passport found near one of the dead terrorists is likely a forgery, according to French police.
Also, that pose of toughness is undercut just a teensy bit by one small detail in Bentley’s brave press release: He acknowledges that there “have been no Syrian refugees relocated in Alabama to date, though neighboring states have processed a number of refugees.” And also that there is no intelligence to indicate any terrorist threat against the state’s critical infrastructure, like the f’ball stadium. Roll Tide!
Similarly, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also announced Sunday that the state would suspend resettlement of Syrian refugees in the Perfect Tree Height state until he’s certain that the Department of Homeland Security will never let a bad person into the country, ever.
“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,” Snyder said in a statement. “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 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.”
Well, that was nice. At least he supposes the ones already here are OK. In today’s Republican Party, that’s downright liberal of him.
The Michigan blockade on refugees is especially stupid, given the state’s already substantial community of Syrian-Americans and others Middle Easterners, many of whom have been in the U.S. for generations (yes, yes, wingnuts, we know, “no-go zones where sharia law is in effect”). Many Syrians wanting to escape the civil war have family in Michigan already:
Ziad Sahloul of Dearborn said his relatives in Syria suffer from a litany of problems: little water, food shortages, electricity that comes and goes.
They’re desperate to move to the United States or Europe but no one wanted them, even before the terrorist attack, said Sahloul. Now it will be harder than ever to escape their fate, he said.
Not surprisingly, as we were writing this piece, the news arrived that governors Greg Abbott in Texas and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas have announced that they too will take the cowering-in-fear approach, because they know there’s never a political downside to stirring up fear of Muslims. Even if the people who desperately want to come here are escaping ISIS.
In a press conference Monday, President Obama said that the U.S. will continue to accept refugees, because we are the USA. At the G20 summit in Turkey, he said, “Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values.” We couldn’t agree more.
And so, while the Official Wonkette Editorial Policy on the Syrian civil war itself remains “????,” our Official Wonkette Editorial Policy on Syrian Refugees is stated thusly:
Of course U.S. America should take in refugees. It’s our fucking job. The alternative is to leave them stuck in hell, where they will either die or become radicalized against the United States. Or else we might as well replace the plaque on that nice welcoming statue in New York Harbor with one that reads, “Sucks to be you.” The lesson of World War II was supposed to be “Never Again,” not “leave ’em to die because they’re scary foreigners with the wrong religion.”
Yes, by all means, screen refugees to keep terrorist infiltrators out. We know how to do that and are doing it already. The way you stop terrorism is with police work and intelligence, not leaving people to die. Can we guarantee that no refugee will ever become a terrorist? With screening, probably better than we can protect against American-born white guys who want to blow up a federal building.
Update: Being a dick to refugees seems to be almost as popular among Republican governors as hating Obamacare! Since this article posted, Republican governors of an additional five states have announced that they will not allow Syrian refugees to be relocated in their states. The complete list of shameful cowardly states, as of 1:43 p.m. EST Monday, includes Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Texas. We’re predicting a House Resolution calling for Emma Lazarus’s poem to be jackhammered off the base of the Statue of Liberty by sometime midweek.
To his credit, Democratic Gov. Dannel Maloy of Connecticut has announced that his state will continue to take in Syrian refugees.
Update, 3:00 EST:New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan has reportedly joined the parade of paranoids; while not saying that New Hampshire would refuse refugees, the Democratic governor has called on the federal government to stop accepting of Syrian refugees until screenings are strengthened.