No refugee zone

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More than a dozen US states say Syrian refugees are no longer welcome due to security fears after the Paris attacks.

Alabama, Texas and several other states issued similar statements but a State Department spokesman said the legality of this action was still unclear.

President Barack Obama has urged the US to “step up and do its part” to help those fleeing the civil war.

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” he said. “Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both.”

The governors’ decisions come in the wake of the attacks in Paris which killed 129 people on Friday, November 13th.

Seven of the perpetrators died in the attacks, and one of them is thought to have been a Syrian who entered Europe via Greece with migrants.

Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and to Europe, and the US has promised to take about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next 12 months.

The states that are saying no to refugees are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin.

While the state of Alabama has not accepted any Syrian refugees so far, the southern state’s governor has said that he “will not place Alabamians at even the slightest possible risk of an attack on our people”.

In Michigan, where it has been reported that 200 Syrians have been resettled in the past year, Governor Snyder has said he will suspend the acceptance of new refugees until the US Department of Homeland Security “completes a full review of security clearances and procedures”.

The decision to suspend the acceptance of refugees has drawn the ire of some working to resettle them.

But several Republican presidential candidates have said it would be wrong to accept any more. Business mogul Donald Trump described it as “insane”.

Flags on many public buildings across the US flew at half-mast after the attacks as an expression of solidarity with France.

Submitted by Tyrone Lewis