Earlier this week, Republican Presidential candidate Chris Christie took a break from yelling at schoolteachers to examine “what options his administration has to block Syrian refugees from resettling in the state and receiving financial aid,” the Wall Street Journal said.
Christie’s double-down comes in response to the federal government resettling a Syrian family of seven in Paterson, New Jersey on Monday. Back in November, Christie boomed he wouldn’t even make exceptions for Syrian “orphans under the age of five,” a Trump-style claim even he, as a former US Attorney, must know he lawfully can’t back up.
Governors cannot bar anyone from their states. The U.S. Constitution gives all power over immigration to the federal government. Surely governors know that. And if so, the only explanation for their paper tiger pronouncements is that they were pathetically pandering to voters.
It hasn’t been lost on others that Christie and the two dozen or so other Governors (all Republican, except for one) bravely vowing to slam the door shut on five-year-olds are among the same Republican leaders blocking the implementation of DAPA and DACA+, which would protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Fresh off of trashing DACA/DAPA, GOP governors line up to try to block protection of Syrian refugees https://t.co/ShWHbocl7o #immigration
— Anil Kalhan (@kalhan) November 16, 2015
The same politicians that reject #DAPA are the same ones turning their back against #refugees #FamiliesFightBack pic.twitter.com/QIhApZtdwh
— Lizeth Chacon (@LizzyChacon) November 21, 2015
Among the loudest in wishing to block refugees has been Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who claims that “opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.” This is the same Governor Abbott who, along with other Republican Governors and Attorneys General, window-shopped until they found an anti-immigrant judge to help stall DAPA, ultimately settling for Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas.
In fact, at least a dozen of the states saying no way to refugees are also a part of the lawsuit blocking DAPA. There’s North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, who claimed his “primary duty as governor is to keep the citizens of North Carolina safe.” And, sure enough, there he is on the list of states blocking DAPA.
McCrory’s neighbor, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, agreed Syrian refugees are “a potential threat to our national security” and aren’t welcome in her state — and, sure enough, there’s South Carolina on the list of states blocking DAPA. Former Republican Presidential candidate Scott Walker chimed in that “the state of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees” — yup, there’s his state blocking DAPA, too.
In Maine — a state that received a grand total of one Syrian refugee in 2014 and zero in 2015 so far — Governor Paul LePage pretty much compared all Syrians refugees to terrorists:
“To bring Syrian refugees into our country without knowing who they are is to invite an attack on American soil just like the one we saw in Paris last week and in New York City on 9/11. That is why I adamantly oppose any attempt by the federal government to place Syrian refugees in Maine, and will take every lawful measure in my power to prevent it from happening.”
No surprise LePage is a part of the DAPA lawsuit, too.
Also, no surprise that almost all of the states that are on the anti-immigrant lawsuit, with the exception of Utah, South Dakota and Montana, have also called for a halt to refugees.
Back in April, Abbott let the cat out of the bag by admitting that the lawsuit to block DAPA wasn’t really about protecting the Constitution, but about about making life miserable for immigrant families by leaving them at risk of deportation. Now these same Republican Governors appear to want to make the lives of Syrians fleeing war even more miserable, too.