By Arun Kumar
Washington, Nov 17 (IANS) After the Paris terrorist attacks, governors of at least 24 US states, all but one of them Republican, including Louisiana’s Indian-American governor Bobby Jindal, have announced they will not accept Syrian refugees.
The announcements came after authorities revealed that at least one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris attacks that left 129 dead and hundreds injured entered Europe among the current wave of Syrian refugees.
He had falsely identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad and was allowed to enter Greece in early October.
Jindal, a long shot Republican presidential candidate, went a step further than other governors and issued an executive order Monday to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in Louisiana.
He cited a section of the Louisiana Constitution that says “during times of emergency … the governor has emergency powers to protect the citizens and property of the state of Louisiana,” according to Nola.com
Earlier in an open letter to President Barack Obama Saturday, Jindal said Washington needs “to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States,”
“It would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States,” he said suggesting Obama hold off on taking in more refugees.
He also complained bitterly that the federal government had not informed his government about refugees being relocated to his state.
“It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement,” Jindal said.
He demanded to know more about the people being placed in Louisiana to avoid a repeat of the Paris attacks and wanted to know whether screening would be intensified for refugees holding Syrian passports.
Jindal said that bringing Syrian refugees into the US without “proper prior screening and follow-up monitoring could result in a threat to the citizens and property of this state.”
States whose governors oppose Syrian refugees coming in include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the US since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year.
Jindal is not the only Republican politician to criticise White House’s Syria policy in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Critics include Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and frontrunner Donald Trump, who has called accepting Syrian refugees “insane.”
“We all have heart and we all want people taken care of, but with the problems our country has, to take in 250,000, some of whom are going to have problems, big problems, is just insane. We have to be insane. Terrible,”
Donald Trump said at a rally in Beaumont, Texas. He did not explain how he got the 250,000 figure.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)