Due to conflict and civil war there are reportedly 12 million Syrians fleeing Syria and seeking refuge in other countries. President Obama announced that the U.S. will expand the amount of Syrian refugees admitted and would admit 10,000 refugees to the U.S. over the next 12 months. However, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, some have taken steps to make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to come to the U.S. Republicans in Congress voted to make it more difficult for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter to the U.S and U.S. governors have begun to openly state that they will not welcome Syrian refugees. CNN reported that Syrian refugees are not welcome in 31 U.S. states.
Many state governors do not wish to have Syrian refugees enter their states
In the aftermath of the attacks on Paris, there was a report that one of the suspects was a Syrian refugee. In response, several U.S. governors announced they would not support any reform by Congress to admit more Syrian refugees and other governors have flat out announced they would not allow Syrian refugees in their state. Over 31 state governors have taken to twitter or other media outlets to voice their opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the U.S. However, legally speaking, it may not be possible for States to directly prohibit the refugees from seeking Asylum in the U.S., nor is it possible to prevent the entry of refugees in their respective states. They can, however, make it tough for refugees to settle in and assimilate with the local population by not providing them with the necessary facilities/incentives.
California appears open to admitting Syrian refugees
California has taken a neutral status and has not made a statement that it will not allow Syrian refugees to come to California. Attorney General Kamala Harris has reportedly stated that keeping immigrants out is a scary trend. She also noted that at the same time we must be vigilant. California is a state made up of many immigrants and minority groups. Of all the Syrian refugees who migrated to the U.S. since 2012, about 11% of them have settled in California.
Refugees and Asylum in the U.S.
Refugees who come to the U.S. make seek refugee status or an asylum. Refugee and asylum status is granted to those who demonstrate that they have been persecuted or have a credible fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political option. These immigrants may be able to gain refugee status or be granted an asylum. Granting the refugee status must also be of humanitarian concern of the U.S.
Asylums are granted to those who meet the definition of refugee, are in the U.S. and are seeking entry. Those who are granted asylum are permitted to remain in the U.S. and may also include a spouse and children on the application for asylum as well. Once granted an asylum, the applicant may work in the U.S. This process can be detailed can complicated. Consulting an attorney is a good idea to ensure the application is correctly and promptly field.
More than half of the nation’s governors say Syrian refugees not welcome, November 19, 2015, Ashley Fantz and Ben Brumfield
Refugees & Asylum, November 12, 2015, USCIS