U.S. Governors May Not Ban Syrian Refugees

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2015

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, 213-400-7822, delatorre@nilc.org

Governors’ Anti-Refugee Position Is Immoral and Illegal

States may not choose to slam the door on Syrian refugees

WASHINGTON — In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, France, nearly half of the U.S.’s state governors have declared that Syrian refugees are no longer welcome in their states. Other elected officials have asserted that the U.S. should admit only Christian refugees from Syria. Below is a statement from Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.

“America has a long and rich history of serving as a beacon of hope for people seeking refuge from oppression and violence. It’s no mystery why leaders of both parties have historically welcomed refugees with open arms: The refugees of decades past have gone on to become an integral part of the fabric of our communities, and their contributions—both economic and societal—make us stronger.

“Our proud history makes even more disheartening the current partisan declarations about shutting the door on vulnerable Syrian families fleeing violence. Those asserting that refugees are not welcome—either because of their country of origin or their faith—are acting out of small-minded panic and nativism.

“Their policy proposals aren’t just immoral, they are unconstitutional. For over a century, the Supreme Court has made clear that states may not pick and choose which parts of immigration law, or which immigrants, they want to respect. Nor can they decide which country’s refugees should be sheltered from persecution. Simply put, there is no place under federal immigration law for the discriminatory preferences of any individual governor.”

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