Illinois will temporarily halt its acceptance of Syrian refugees in the wake of Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday.
At least fifteen other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and Texas, have also announced plans to close their doors to Syrian refugees following the Paris attacks. One of the suspected Paris attackers is believed to have slipped into Europe with Syrian refugees.
"Our nation and our state have a shared history of providing safe haven for those displaced by conflict, but the news surrounding the Paris terror attacks reminds us of the all-too-real security threats facing America," Rauner said in a statement. "We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens. Therefore, the state of Illinois will temporarily suspend accepting new Syrian refugees and consider all of our legal options pending a full review of our country's acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security."
Before news broke Monday that Illinois plans to turn away new Syrian refugees, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL,4) spoke to reporters about the Paris attacks at an unrelated immigration workshop event he and Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) hosted.
"No. 1, our country is in solidarity," Gutierrez said. "There will be decisions that are going to be made in the coming days, in the coming weeks, in terms of the response. I think our response needs to be greater and more robust. If Paris taught us anything, it is that."
Gutierrez was asked to elaborate on what he meant by "more robust."
"I will wait to discuss it with members of the intelligence committee so that we can get better information," he replied. "As you know, we've been on recess, and so we haven't had the kinds of briefings that we normally get. I will wait for those briefings. But if you want to ask me from a personal basis, I think we need to do a little more than simply have an air campaign. And I think the president of the United States is being very careful because this is complicated. And it cannot be the United States of America alone. The English, the Italians, the Turks, the Muslim community, the Jordanians and the Saudi Arabians are all under threat too. They must join ... It must be everybody in the international community defending freedom. So that's gonna take time. That's gonna take some conversations. I don't want to get ahead of those conversations."
Gutierrez also commented on the states whose governors have refused to take in new Syrian refugees, before Rauner made his announcement on the issue.
"I think it is very sad that in this moment of tragedy, of death, of murder, of terrorism in Paris that we would use it to exploit it politically," Gutierrez said. "Look, the fact is that everybody agrees, Republicans and Democrats, that it was a mistake to go into Iraq. I voted against the war in Iraq. You know what the war in Iraq gave us? It gave us ISIS. It gave us terrorism. It gave us a divided Iraq.
"Look, those are the actions that have been taken," he continued. "And I find it a little bit hypocritical and contradictory that people who were for war, war, war and now that you have the displacement of people and refugees because of that war and the consequences of that war would want to shut our doors down. Look, the fact is that it is the federal government that will make these decisions. We are going to be careful. We are going to be thorough. We are going to be robust in our inspection of those that would apply, but we must continue to be a nation that welcomes refugees to its shores."