U.S. Governors Suspend Refugee Relocation in their States

Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 12:48 pm
Growing Number of States Refuse to Accept Syrian Refugees in Wake of Paris Attacks
(By ESTHER CASTILLEJO, ABC News, November 16, 2015)

A growing number of states are refusing to take in Syrian refugees amid heightened security concerns following Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris.

Michigan and Alabama were the first states in the country to refuse relocating Syrian refugees on Sunday, and they have now been joined by Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois.

Govs. Rick Snyder of Michigan, Robert Bentley of Alabama, Greg Abbott of Texas, and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said in separate statements Sunday and today that their states would not be relocating refugees from the war-torn country until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security fully reviewed its screening procedures.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 22 • Views: 11,182 • Replies: 256

Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 12:53 pm
These governors believe that Homeland Security needs to first review their screening procedures? Or is this political exploitation of the tragedy in Paris?
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 01:01 pm
Sad but predictable.
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Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 01:31 pm
Under what theory of law does state governors have the power to stop the federal government from settling refugees in their states?
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 01:51 pm
BillRM wrote:

Under what theory of law does state governors have the power to stop the federal government from settling refugees in their states?

The federal government has jurisdiction over admitting refugees into the country. At the same time, the federal government needs the assistance of individual state governments in the relocation of refugees.
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 01:55 pm
federal government needs the assistance of individual state governments in the relocation of refugees.

Why? The federal government have lot of properties in all states they could used without any state government say so.

Hell in some Western states they own the majority of the total land in those states.
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 03:27 pm
So sorry your fine thread got hijacked already.
I'd love to stay but I don't have the stomach for 20 pages of a poster trying to prove how smart he is.
Good try though. Very Happy
Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 04:16 pm
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Reply Mon 16 Nov, 2015 08:23 pm
President Obama called these actions a "religious test": "That's not American. That's not who we are. We do not have religious tests to our compassion."
Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2015 07:36 am
I don't if that would legal, forcing states to accept refugees on federal property, good thought though.

I fear Islamophobes will take hold everywhere and like 9/11, the Paris attacks will give the excuse for it.

Top 10 Reasons Governors are Wrong to Exclude Syrian Refugees

Paris: ending immigration to France won’t stop terrorism – resisting hatred of foreigners might

Reply Tue 17 Nov, 2015 07:31 pm
I have a feeling that any Syrians who get into the U S of A will be vetted back to the day their parents were born.
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Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 06:45 am
Governors can’t keep out refugees. But they can make their lives miserable.

And by doing that, they'd destroy part of what makes US refugee policy so unique.

The 27 states that have declared they won't admit Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris terror attacks can't actually prevent refugees from entering their territory. But they can make it much harder for them to learn English or get jobs.

States have a much bigger role in helping refugees settle in the US than they have with other kinds of immigrants. Usually, that's what makes US refugee policy special. But if governors really wanted to make life harder for refugees, they could seriously damage the US's ability to turn refugees into Americans.

Governors have nothing to do with whether Syrian refugees are allowed into the US or where they choose to move

The federal government has sole authority to decide who gets allowed into the United States. Period. That's true for refugees and for every other type of immigrant. And once people have been formally "admitted" to the US, they're not obligated to stay in one place. Other types of immigrants might have to stay in one place to satisfy the terms of their visas (temporary workers have to stay with a single employer, for example), but refugees don't have anything like that. They can move wherever they like, and many do.

When governors say they're telling their state governments not to "admit" Syrian refugees, they're using the term for officially letting the refugees into the country — which is something they don't have the authority to do. That's why a lot of the immediate analysis in the press has been a black-and-white declaration that the states can't actually do anything to restrict Syrian refugees.

For most types of immigrants, that would, in fact, be that — the government admits them into the country, and then they're on their own. But refugees (and asylum recipients) are different. And state governments really are involved in helping refugees settle in the US — which gives significant opportunities to try to restrict or reject Syrian refugees.

The federal government consults with states when deciding where to resettle a refugee

Most of the time, the government doesn't allow people to settle permanently in the US unless it's assured they can support themselves here. To get permanent residency, immigrants (almost always) have to show that they can support themselves, and they either have to have family in the US, a lot of money, or a long job record here.

Refugees are different. When the US allows a refugee into the country, it accepts that the refugee might want or need to settle down permanently. And refugees aren't admitted based on how well they can support themselves or assimilate within the US — they're admitted because they're fleeing persecution and danger, and the US is taking them in as a humanitarian gesture.

Because of that, the government doesn't just let refugees into the country and set them out on their own. Refugees aren't just admitted but resettled: The federal government works with nonprofit organizations, states, and local governments to secure whatever refugees need to support themselves — things like housing, job training, and English classes.

The government actively chooses where to resettle a refugee based on whether he or she has family in the US, and where he or she will get the most support. At the end of the day, the State Department — and the nonprofit contractor that is assigned to resettle the refugee — makes that decision. But each state has a refugee coordinator responsible for working with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and with the state agencies that help integrate refugees, and the State Department consults with him or her to make sure that the state has enough capacity before deciding to resettle a refugee there.

In practice, this is what the governors are directing their states to do. The next time the State Department calls up and says, "Hey, can you take a dozen Syrian refugees?" the state refugee coordinator has been directed to say, "Nope, sorry."

The State Department is free to ignore that and resettle refugees in the state anyway. And while the Obama administration hasn't explicitly declared that's what it's going to do, it certainly seems likely (since the president has had zero patience for attempts to restrict Syrian refugees). Arguably, if a state tried to pick and choose which countries it was willing to accept refugees from, it would run afoul of federal anti-discrimination law: It's illegal to discriminate based on nationality, and a refugee from Syria has the same immigration status as a refugee from China.

But when states claim they have no more room for refugees at all, refugee experts say it's not unheard of for the State Department to accede to the state's request — and agree to (for example) only resettle refugees whose families already live in the state. So what the governors are trying isn't a total shot in the dark.

Governors can block state agencies from getting money to help integrate refugees

After a refugee has been placed in the US, the real work begins: integrating refugees into their communities, and helping them support themselves, is a process that takes months or years. Once a refugee is self-sufficient, she usually ends up an economic asset to the community — but that requires that initial investment.

A lot of that work is done by the nonprofit organization that's federally contracted to resettle the refugee (usually a local affiliate of a larger organization like HIAS). But much of it is done by government — mostly local government, like school district officials, but also state social services agents and such.

Both of these arms are funded through the federal government, but each is funded separately. The federal government contracts directly with the nonprofits. But it also sends "pass-through" money to the states based on the refugees they've accepted — and it's then the state government's responsibility to award grants to various state agencies based on what they promise to do with refugees.

A governor can't stop the nonprofit organizations from getting their funds. But if she wants to send a message to the federal government that the state won't help refugees, she can stop the "pass-through" money from, well, passing through. In fact, in 2010, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal attempted to do just this: He simply refused to issue contracts for English classes, after-school programs, and job training for refugees in the state, even though those contracts were already paid for with federal money.

Deal eventually released the contracts at the end of 2011 — but it took a sustained lobbying campaign from the refugee nonprofits working in the state, which means they had to take resources away from helping refugees. Had Deal held out for longer — preventing state agencies from getting the money to integrate refugees and forcing the nonprofit groups to spend some of their energy on lobbying him to change his mind — it's theoretically possible that the nonprofits could have reached their limit and asked the federal government to stop sending refugees to Georgia.

Working with states and cities to integrate refugees is what makes America's refugee program special

The irony of what Deal did — or what any governor blocking state refugee funds would do — is that it doesn't stop refugees from coming, but it does make it harder for them to integrate. Refusing to help refugees get job training means it will take longer for them to find jobs and get off government assistance; refusing to help them learn English, or to help their children adjust to US schools, means they're less likely to feel invested in their communities. It means they're less likely to feel truly American.

In other words, these governors are turning their backs on what makes American refugee policy special.

The government doesn't take many refugees — at least compared with the number of refugees forced to live in temporary camps around the world. But when it does, it makes sure they get as much support as possible to become Americans who work and thrive in the US.

When immigrants don't get that support — when they have no reason to feel that they're members of their new community, and can only rely on their fellow immigrants for support — we know what happens. That's exactly what France and other European countries are dealing with right now with their Muslim immigrant communities: second- or third-generation immigrants who have absolutely no reason to feel French. There are a lot of reasons Europe has struggled to integrate its immigrants, but it's certainly true that the government didn't take an active role in integrating them when they first arrived.

This isn't a perfect parallel: The European immigrants in question largely weren't refugees when they arrived. But the governors trying to restrict Syrian refugees, out of fear that they'll be a "fifth column" loyal to ISIS rather than the US, are looking to Europe for their evidence that this could happen (since they certainly can't find it in the US). Using the Paris attacks as a reason to starve Syrian refugees in the US of funds is one of the things most likely to make refugees disaffected and isolated that a state could possibly do.

Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 11:00 am
I'll be writing Gov. Andrew Cuomo in support of his stance on New York state's acceptance of Syrian refugees.
Rep. Seth Moulton slams Gov. Charlie Baker’s ‘un-American’ Syria refugee opposition

Gov. Baker says no to Syrian refugees in Massachusetts
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Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 12:12 pm
revelette2 wrote:

The 27 states that have declared they won't admit Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris terror attacks can't actually prevent refugees from entering their territory. But they can make it much harder for them to learn English or get jobs.

States have a much bigger role in helping refugees settle in the US than they have with other kinds of immigrants. Usually, that's what makes US refugee policy special. But if governors really wanted to make life harder for refugees, they could seriously damage the US's ability to turn refugees into Americans.

that's what makes a powerful volunteer network so important

it's been awesome here - the volunteers are so well-organized, putting together housing plans, English language classes (though these aren't needed for most of the first wave of Syrian refugees most of us will see - many speak decent English already), childcare plans for parents in education/licensing programs etc

a lot of volunteer groups were already well-established, and they are helping the ones that are newer to this
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Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 12:13 pm
The constitutional question over states and Syrian refugees
(National Constitution Center, November 18, 2015)

With more than two dozen governors objecting to a federal government plan to accept Syrian refugees, a spotlight has been placed on how the Constitution deals with these matters.

In the long run, Congress might have a bigger say in a federal policy decision that could see as many as 10,000 Syrian refugees accepted into the United States in the coming year. State leaders, such as governors, and state legislatures have far fewer options.

In general terms, the Constitutional power for the federal government, and not the states, to control immigration policies and laws comes from interpretations of Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 3 and 4, of the Constitution. A Supreme Court decision from 1941, Hines v. Davidowitz, explained the logic behind this, which involves conflicts between federal and state jurisdiction.
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Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 01:16 pm

31 states oppose taking Syrian refugees
Candidates complain about U.S. immigration policies

UPDATED 4:14 PM EST Nov 17, 2015

States whose governors oppose Syrian refugees coming in:

-- Alabama
-- Arizona
-- Arkansas
-- Florida
-- Georgia
-- Idaho
-- Illinois
-- Indiana
-- Iowa
-- Kansas
-- Louisiana
-- Maine
-- Maryland
-- Massachusetts
-- Michigan
-- Mississippi
-- Nebraska
-- Nevada
-- New Hampshire
-- New Jersey
-- New Mexico
-- North Carolina
-- North Dakota
-- Ohio
-- Oklahoma
-- South Carolina
-- South Dakota
-- Tennessee
-- Texas
-- Wisconsin
-- Wyoming

Nuts, New Mexico is on the list.
Reading that link makes me embarrassed for us as a country.
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 01:45 pm
So a majority of the states oppose bringing in refugees. Lets hope Obama listens to the governors and changes his plans. I'm guessing that he won't, because as always it is the will of King Obama that gets done, never the will of the people.
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 01:55 pm
I'm actually hoping the people will override the governors.

Looks like quite a few religious groups in the US are organizing to do so.
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 01:59 pm
There's nothing to override. The governors don't have a say in their respective state. It would be political suicide if they decide to ... say bring up their National Guard or something to enforce a restriction they have no legal authority to make in the first place.
Reply Wed 18 Nov, 2015 02:03 pm
My irish forebears are rolling over about now, that this still goes on.
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