SJR — Three days after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Illinois will temporarily stop accepting new Syrian refugees.
He joins Republican governors in nine other states who also said they will not accept Syrian refugees in the wake of the attack.
Authorities said at least one of the attackers apparently entered France with other 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 all of the all-too-real security threats facing America,” Rauner said in a statement released Monday. “We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming 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,” Rauner concluded.
According to the state’s Department of Human Services, Illinois is home to 169 Syrian refugees. DHS said the figures, which came from the U.S. State Department, date to 2010.
The Chicago Tribune reported in September that 94 Syrian refugees have come to Illinois this year.
The governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi and Texas have also announced bans on allowing additional Syrian refugees into their states.
Renner Larson, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Chicago, called Rauner’s move a “knee-jerk reaction that is un-American and flies in the face of what Muslim-Americans stand for.”
“There’s been no evidence Syrian refugees have any security risk at all,” he said. “The ones who make it to the U.S. have already been vetted and registered as refugees and relocated. Most of them are highly educated and are very employable, productive members of society, doctors, lawyers, engineers. They’re running from the very people we are trying to protect ourselves from.”