A federal judge rejected for the second time a request by the state of Texas to bar relief agencies from bringing Syrian refugees into the state.
This could affect the attempts of 30 other governors from allowing refugees in their states.
President Barack Obama has pledged to receive 10,000 people fleeing war-torn Syria. After the attacks in Paris, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was one of the first to announce that he would not allow Syrian refugees into his state.
“The Court does not deny that the Syrian refugees pose some risk. That would be foolish,” U.S. District Judge David Godbey said. “In our country, however, it is the federal executive that is charged with assessing and mitigating that risk, not the states and not the courts.”
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is one of the governors who said Syrian refugees would not be welcome.
“As governor, I oppose any facility or installation in Arkansas being used as a Syrian refugee center. Many of the Syrian refugees are fleeing violence in their own country, but Europe, Asia or Africa are logically the best places for resettlement or for temporary asylum,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “The hardships facing these refugees and their families are beyond most of our understanding, and my thoughts and prayers are with them, but I will not support a policy that is not the best solution and that poses risk to Arkansans.”
Governor Hutchinson is scheduled to speak in chapel on April 4.
Rebecca Ramirez, junior graphic design and art and illustration major, said she is opposed to his position.
Ramirez said there is buzz on campus about creating a petition or writing letters to the governor to give to the governor when he comes, asking him to reverse his position and welcome refugees.
“I want to sit on the front row with a white shirt that says, ‘I stand with refugees’ and stare at him,” Ramirez said of the governor’s future chapel talk.
Ramirez said that Hutchinson’s words are empty because the power to accept refugees belongs to the federal government, not the state governments.
“He can make it hard, but he can’t actually keep them out,” Ramirez said.“There is no other way for me to interpret what those governors said than as a manipulative lie to garner support.”
Zack Reed, freshman youth ministry major, and Ashley Burger, sophomore photography and communication major, said they also opposed the governor’s stance. Both agreed that they would feel awkward signing a petition or perhaps writing a letter to give to a chapel speaker, but would do it anyway.
Reed said he could understand why the governor wants to keep refugees out, but doesn’t think it is morally right to do so.
Reed said he wrote a paper last semester for English class on refugees in Europe in which he had the opportunity to research the plight of migrants.
“Looking at the conditions they have to go through to get into Europe: they’re appalling and life threatening in almost every instance,” Reed said.
“If it’s that difficult to get into Europe, which is nowhere near as far away as America is, I feel like we should be doing everything in our power to help them get away.”