Governors Who Want To Ban Syrian Refugees Have Something In Common

By
from FiveThirtyEight

Governors of more than half of U.S. states have now said they won’t accept additional refugees from Syria after the attacks Friday in Paris, which French officials say were masterminded by a Belgian who fought for the Islamic State in Syria. As of Tuesday afternoon, governors in 12 states said they would welcome refugees as part of President Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 people in 2016 who are fleeing the Islamic State and Syria’s civil war.

That means most governors have weighed in, even though they can’t blockrefugees from entering the United States (though they could complicate settlement within their states’ borders).

There is one stark, obvious difference between these two groups of states: the party that controls the statehouse. Just one of the 30 governors who oppose taking in more refugees is a Democrat: Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire. All 12 who said their states will continue welcoming refugees are Democrats, as is Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C.1

GOVERNOR
STATE ACCEPTING REFUGEES FROM SYRIA REFUGEES FROM SYRIA ACCEPTED IN FY 2014 NAME PARTY REPUBLICAN TWO-PARTY VOTE SHARE
Tennessee No 0 Haslam R 75%
Nevada No 0 Sandoval R 75
South Dakota Undeclared 0 Daugaard R 73
Utah Undeclared 1 Herbert R 71
Louisiana No 0 Jindal R 70
Wyoming No 0 Mead R 69
Mississippi No 0 Bryant R 67
Ohio No 4 Kasich R 66
North Dakota No 0 Dalrymple R 65
Alabama No 0 Bentley R 64
Iowa No 0 Branstad R 61
New Jersey No 8 Christie R 61
Texas No 10 Abbott R 60
Nebraska No 0 Ricketts R 59
Idaho No 3 Otter R 58
Oklahoma No 0 Fallin R 58
South Carolina No 0 Haley R 57
New Mexico No 0 Martinez R 57
Arkansas No 0 Hutchinson R 57
Arizona No 15 Ducey R 56
North Carolina No 11 McCrory R 56
Georgia No 6 Deal R 54
Wisconsin No 2 Walker R 53
Maine No 2 LePage R 53
Michigan No 6 Snyder R 52
Illinois No 7 Rauner R 52
Kansas No 0 Brownback R 52
Maryland No 2 Hogan R 52
Indiana No 0 Pence R 52
Massachusetts No 2 Baker R 51
Florida No 6 Scott R 51
Vermont Yes 0 Shumlin D 49
Montana Undeclared 0 Bullock D 49
Alaska Undeclared 0 Walker I 49
Connecticut Yes 1 Malloy D 49
Virginia Undeclared 6 McAuliffe D 49
Washington Yes 2 Inslee D 48
Colorado Yes 1 Hickenlooper D 48
New Hampshire No 0 Hassan D 48
West Virginia Undeclared 1 Tomblin D 47
Rhode Island Undeclared 0 Raimondo D 47
Minnesota Yes 0 Dayton D 47
Oregon Yes 1 Brown D 47
Pennsylvania Yes 0 Wolf D 45
Missouri Undeclared 0 Nixon D 44
Hawaii Yes 0 Ige D 43
New York Yes 2 Cuomo D 43
California Yes 32 Brown D 40
Washington, D.C. Yes 0 Bowser D 39
Kentucky Yes 1 Beshear D 39
Delaware Yes 0 Markell D 29

Little differentiates the two groups of states in terms of their Syria-born population,2 their prior acceptance of refugees from all countries in fiscal year 2014 (between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014)3 or their acceptance of refugees from Syria during that period.4 The overall number of refugees to the U.S. from Syria last fiscal year, though, was tiny: Just 124 settled in 21 of 42 states whose governors have taken a stand — and none at all settled in 21 of the states or in Washington, D.C. Just eight more settled in the rest of the U.S. in 2014.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was one of the first governors to call for a halt to refugees from Syria. “Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said in a statement Sunday announcing his position on refugees. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

Obama defended his plan to welcome more refugees from Syria at a news conference in Turkey on Monday. “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” Obama said.

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