Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent a letter to President Obama on Monday saying he has instructed the state to stop accepting Syrian refugees.
Eric Gay / AP
In a letter sent to President Obama on Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that his state will refuse to resettle Syrian refugees.
"Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being resettled in Texas," Abbott said in the letter. "Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission's Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the state of Texas. And I urge you, as president, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States."
"Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity," Abbott continued. "As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril."
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson wrote in a tweet on Monday that he too would oppose Syrian refugees being relocated to his state.
Abbott and Hutchinson join Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder in attempting to block Syrian refugees from relocating to their states after the Paris terror attacks.
Both Michigan and Texas have resettled Syrian refugees since beginning of the Syrian civil war. Alabama and Arkansas have not.
The terrorist attacks in Paris have brought renewed attention on the U.S. refugee program, specifically the threat that ISIS could exploit the process to infiltrate and attack the United States. Several Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates have called on the administration to stop taking Syrian refugees, citing security concerns.
Refugees are extensively vetted — the process takes on average 18 to 24 months — but senior U.S. officials have said they are concerned there is a lack of on-the-ground intelligence in Syria that could be useful in the screening process.
Read the Abbott's full letter to President Obama:
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