CHICAGO (CBS) — Joining several other GOP governors, Bruce Rauner on Monday moved to block Syrian refugees from entering the state.
Citing the Paris attacks, Rauner said “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, along with Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and several other GOP governors have moved to suspend Syrian resettlement, at least for the short term.
As of midday on Monday, 10 Republican governors–from Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Texas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Massachusetts–moved to block refugees from relocating to their states, at least for now.
According to published reports, one of the attackers in Paris was a refugee from Syria.
According to the U.S. State Department, 131 Syrian refugees settled in Illinois so far in 2015. Of those, 95 settled in the Chicago area, including 79 in Chicago and 16 in Aurora.
Rauner’s full statement:
“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. We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of 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.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed to downplay the governor’s declaration when he was asked about it while he was at at the French Consulate paying his and the city’s condolences for the terrorist bloodbath last weekend in Paris.
“Security and our values go hand-in-hand,” Emanuel said. “The United States government is in a vetting process but our values are one in which we remind ourselves that we are an open, welcoming society.”
Suzanne Akhras, the founder of the Syrian Community Network, says she is “disappointed” by Rauner’s decision.
“I’d like to ask him, what’s his story?” Akhras said. “How did his parents or his grandparents come to the United States? What kind of conflict did they escape?”