Monday, November 16, 2015

Gov. Snyder suspends initiative to relocate Syrian refugees to Michigan

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 12:17 PM

On Sunday night Gov. Rick Snyder announced that Michigan would place on hold its efforts to welcome Syrian refugees looking to relocate to the United States.

The news came two days after a devastating, multi-site terrorist attack in Paris, which left 120 dead and hundreds injured. The Islamic State (ISIS), who has taken over much of Iraq and Syria, took credit for the attacks and according to local reports a Syrian passport was discovered at the location of one of the attacks.

Snyder has announced that he will not be letting refugees into the state until US Homeland Security reviews its screening procedures.

The news has had mixed reactions.

Some state representatives like Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Township) have praised the governor taking to Facebook to post that it was a “Good decision.”

US Rep Candice Miller (R-Harrison Township) issued a statement along the same vein saying she supported the governor’s decision. “The fact is, as evidenced by Friday's horrific attack in Paris, terrorist organizations like ISIS are looking for any and every opportunity to exploit a nation's hospitality to carry out their barbaric attacks against the innocent.”

Others, however, see Friday’s attack as more evidence of why the United States, and Michigan, should be welcoming refugees with open arms. The attacks in Paris are exactly what the refugees hoping to relocate are running from.

“We expect more from you this sends the wrong message" former southwest Detroit state representative Rashida Tlaib wrote on Twitter.

Her sentiment was reiterated by Maged Moughni, a Dearborn attorney and Arab-American advocate, who told the Detroit Free Press, “He's just basically buying into what ISIS wants: Muslims against the West ... Gov. Snyder is buying into the rhetoric."

More specifically those who are disappointed by the Governor’s decision point out that US Homeland Security already has an extensive process for screening refugees looking to come to the United States.

“...refugees spend an average of five to seven years in refugee camps being screened and background checks before access to any country,” Sean de Four, vice president of child and family services with Lutheran Social Services of Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press.

In September Gov. Snyder had announced Michigan would be working with the federal government to accept and relocate Syrian and Middle Eastern refugees.

He is not the only Governor who is backtracking. Gov. Robert Bentley of Alabama and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas have both released statements saying they will not be accepting Syrian refugees.

President Barack Obama addressed the Islamophobic mentality — both amongst the governors but also GOP presidential hopefuls such as Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz who said the US should prioritize Christian immigrants — this morning during a speech at the G20 Summit in Turkey. 

“When I hear folks say that maybe we should just admit the Christians but no the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who is feeling from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Obama said. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are.”

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