SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday announced Illinois is putting a hold on accepting any new refugees from Syria.
“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,” the governor said in prepared statement.
“We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens,” Rauner said.
“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,” he said.
The Chicago office of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) disagreed with the decision.
“What Gov. Rauner and others are missing is that refugees driven from Syria are fleeing violent extremists like the ones that committed the Paris attacks,” the organization said. “Statistically, the vast majority victimized by terrorist groups purporting to act in the name of Islam are Muslims.”
CAIR-Chicago said that since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, the U.S. has resettled about 784,000 refugees and exactly 3 have been arrested for planning terrorist activities.
“Governor Rauner’s decision is an impulsive reaction that is a political exploitation of a tragedy rather than an effective security measure,” said CAIR-Chicago Executive Director Ahmed Rehab. “It gives a false sense of security by demonizing a population in need and plays into the hands of extremists groups hoping to alienate Muslims from western countries.”
The state’s Department of Human Services said 169 Syrian refugees have settled in Illinois since 2010, according to the Associated Press.