Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois will temporarily stop accepting Syrian refugees after the attacks on Paris, a decision which goes against what many Democrats in the state had advocated.
Rauner said in a statement the state needs to balance out security concerns and its tradition of welcoming refugees.
" Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” Rauner said.
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Hours before Rauner's announcement, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Hoffman Estates) said her position on accepting Syrian refugees hadn't changed, pointing out many are fleeing the very same group which carried out the Paris attacks which killed at least 129 people.
"We need to make sure that in responding to ISIS and standing with our allies that we also make sure we look for the best interests of the human condition as well," Duckworth said.
State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) is surprised by Rauner's decison, and hopes he's not following the lead of Republican presidential hopefuls who have called for a nationwide halt to accepting refugees since the attacks.
"I don't want to speculate, but I do know that the Republican debate seems to have spurred a lot of those presidential candidates to make increasingly outlandish and non-fact-based suggestions," Biss said. "That's not who we are as a people and it's also not how you make sound policy, so I would hope that's not what he's following."
Illinois is now one of 12 states saying it won't accept Syrian refugees. All of those 12 have Republican governors.
It's not clear whether Rauner or any governor has any legal standing to refuse to accept refugees. The Refugee Act of 1980 explicitly gives authority on these matters to the President if its determined an "unforeseen emergency refugee situation exists."