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Governor Of Alabama Says His State Will Refuse Syrian Refugees

"I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement Sunday night. Michigan's governor also said Sunday he will suspend the state's plans to accept more refugees.

Last updated on November 15, 2015, at 11:37 p.m. ET

Posted on November 15, 2015, at 11:21 p.m. ET

Steve Helber / AP

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced in a statement on Sunday night that he will oppose any effort to relocate Syrian refugees to his state after the attacks in Paris.

“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. As your governor, I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way,” Bentley said.

"I will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people," Bentley continued. "Please continue to join me in praying for those who have suffered loss and for those who will never allow freedom to fade at the hands of terrorists."

Bentley did not elaborate in the statement how he would block the program in his state. Alabama is the second state to try to refuse Syrian refugees. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced earlier on Sunday that he was suspending Michigan's plans to accept refugees from Syria.

"Given the terrible situation in Paris, I've directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures," Snyder said. "There will be difficult days ahead for the people of France and they remain in our thoughts and prayers. It's also important to remember that these attacks are the efforts of extremists and do not reflect the peaceful ways of people of Middle Eastern descent here and around the world."

Out of approximately 2,000 Syrian refugees that have been resettled in the United States since the start of the Syrian civil war, none have been relocated to Alabama, according to the statement. The Obama administration announced in September that they plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016.

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.


Alabama is the second state to try to suspend taking Syrian refugees. This article initially misstated that.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.