Governor Deal: Georgia will not accept Syrian refugees

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ATLANTA - Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that the state of Georgia will stop accepting Syrian refugees and has called upon President Obama to suspend the resettlement program in the United States.

“In light of the terror attacks in Paris, I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia,” Deal said.

According to a news release from Deal’s office, since 2012 he has demanded that the federal government limit the number of refugees sent to Georgia. 



Back in September Deal voiced concerns about the number of overall refugees coming to Georgia. The latest numbers from the state department show 59 refugees have been from Syria since the conflict started.

Deal has now ordered Georgia’s Homeland Security Department to confirm their backgrounds, making sure they pose no threat. 

Deal told Channel 2’s Lori Geary he’s already written to President Obama requesting he stop the immigration policy for Syrian refugees.

“We think it’s appropriate to take care of our people here in Georgia,” Deal said.

Even Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who welcomes immigrants and refugees to Georgia, says it's time for the U.S. government to step up the vetting process of Syrian refugees.

“The U.S. government is responsible for the vetting process,” Reed told Geary. “In the U.S. we are going to have to double our stance in vetting individuals that come into the U.S. in a way we have not before.”

But many are questioning whether the governor has the authority to reject refugees sent to Georgia by the U.S. government.

“I think we do. We have simply instructed all of our state agencies not to process any paperwork or anything relating to that,” Deal said.

The Council on American Islamic Relations says this un-American rejection of refugees who receive significant security checks prior to entering sends entirely the wrong message.

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