By Lora-Marie Bernard
GREG ABBOTT’S letter to president Barack Obama seemed like an about-face for the state as it was dispatched almost at the same time international news agency Reuters was reporting that Texas is among the top states to accept Syrian refuges so far this year.
So far, the United States has admitted a total of 1,682 Syrian refugees during 2015. Along with Texas, California and Michigan are the top states to support the immigrants.
Obama’s Monday-morning comments highlighting America’s response to the Paris attacks came in a Turkish news conference that included a plea to separate the plight of Syria’s war refugees from the actions of Islamic State terrorists.
Speaking to reporters from around the world at the end of the G20 summit in Antalya, he said it was un-American to discriminate against the refugees.
“We also have to remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves – that’s what they’re fleeing,” Obama said.
“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”
Despite the president’s prompting, however, Abbott was not alone in closing his state’s doors to Syria’s refugees. Among more than a dozen other governors who followed his lead were Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Phil Bryant of Mississippi.
Their actions came three days after a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the Paris terrorists. Although some security sources said it could be fake, news reports cited claims he had entered through a Greek border station notorious for being lax in its review of immigrants.
The Islamic State militant group has claimed responsibility for the deaths of the 129 people killed in Paris through a series of coordinated attacks that stunned the world.