Gov. Rauner says Illinois will stop accepting Syrian refugees

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Following the attacks in Paris, several U.S. governors are threatening to block efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states, including Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. (WLS)

Following Friday's attacks in Paris, several U.S. governors are threatening to block efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states, including Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.

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Following the attacks in Paris, several U.S. governors are threatening to block efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states, including Illinois governor Bruce Rauner.


As the nation's foremost immigration reform advocate, Congressman Luis Gutierrez is confident the U.S. Government can find any potential terrorist among the 10,000 Syrian refugees the Obama administration has already agreed to admit to this country.

"We are going to be robust in our inspection of those who would apply," Rep. Gutierrez said.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth also spoke in favor of allowing Syrian refugees in the country, and says she believes the United States has an even greater obligation to help those fleeing civil war war and ISIS in the Middle East.

"I actually signed on to take more than what the President proposed," Rep. Duckworth said. "I signed on for two hundred thousand refugees."

But Duckworth's possible U.S. Senate opponent Republican incumbent Mark Kirk wrote in a statement:

No refugee related to the Syrian crisis should be admitted to the United States unless the administration can guarantee, with 100% assurance, that they are not members, supporters, or sympathizers of ISIS.

"We don't need to have refugees coming to America. We can set up a refugee camp overseas somewhere. We don't need these people in our country," said conservative radio host Charles Butler.

By midafternoon, the governors of 13 states, including Illinois, had suspended Syrian refugee resettlement. Governor Rauner wrote, "the Paris terror attacks reminds (sic) us of the all-too-real security threats facing America".

An Islamic rights advocate said the suspensions only punish the vast majority who need sanctuary.

"Criminal activity and criminal components will exist with or without the refugees," said Ahmed Rehab of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he does not expect any Syrian refugees currently in Europe to arrive in Chicago anytime soon.

"The United States Government is reviewing anybody and all their papers," Emanuel said. "That's a year away from the present moment."

Despite these governors suspending Syrian refugee resettlement in their states, legal experts tell us that immigration is a matter of federal law and that state officials cannot decide who can enter the country.

"Why are we blaming the victims?" said Suzanne Sahloul, who has helped several Syrian refugees settle in Chicago as part of the Syrian Community Network. "What we saw in Paris is the same type of terror they're experiencing every day."

Before the Paris attacks, the Obama Administration planned to take in 85,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the next year. But some Republicans are using the fact a Syrian passport was found on one of the terrorists to bolster their opposition.

"To America tens of thousands of Syrian Muslims is nothing short of lunacy," said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican presidential candidate.

"When I hear political leaders suggesting that there should be a religious test for which person who's fleeing a war torn country is admitted, that's shameful. That's not American," Obama said.

Since January 1st, 131 Syrian refugees have settled in Illinois, 18 in Indiana, and 1 in Wisconsin. But governors of all those states now say "no more."

Bruce Rauner rationalizes it this way: "The Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America."

Sahloul is now inviting the governor to visit a family in their home.

"Meet the children, talk to them, ask them why they came to the United States," Sahloul said.

It can take a Syrian refugee seeking to come to the United States as long as two years to complete the paperwork and background checks necessary - one of the reasons so few are here.
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syriaParis terror attackSpringfield
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