More than half of US governors said no to helping Syrian refugees, but these eight said yes

Welcome, refugees.
Welcome, refugees.
Image: AP Photo/Eric Risberg
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The list of US governors who reject the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states, citing security concerns after last week’s attacks in Paris, has grown to at least 27. But a few states—including Utah, California, and Vermont—have said they will welcome Syrian refugees.

Utah, which has resettled just 12 Syrians over the last five years, anticipates a few hundred more coming to the state in 2016, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Other states that have outright said yes to accepting refugees include Pennsylvania, Delaware, California, Washington, Minnesota, Vermont, and Connecticut.

The governors who outright oppose settling Syrian refugees are all Republican. (Utah’s governor is the only Republican of the eight who said they would accept refugees.) Democratic governors who are less enthusiastic about refugees have avoided openly clashing with president Barack Obama, who has said that “slamming the door in [refugees’] faces would be a betrayal of our values.” Instead they’ve resorted to non-committal statements about putting the safety of their states’ citizens first and taking all necessary precautions—or evading the issue, like Earl Ray Tomblin, the Democratic governor of West Virginia, who said that ”we do not anticipate a federal request for placements of refugees” and added that “smaller placements likely would take more than a year to occur.”

Either way, as Washington’s (Democratic) governor, Jay Inslee, reminded other governors, they do not have the final say in whether their states receive refugee resettlements or not. ”Those decisions are made by the federal government,” he said in a statement, “and the US State Department has a robust system in place to evaluate and place families who seek refugee status.”