Voices of support, dissent to Bentley's stance on refugees

Voices of support, dissent to Bentley's stance on refugees

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Alabama is one of nearly 20 states announcing opposition to allowing in Syrian refugees.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed an executive order Monday calling for "all lawful means necessary" to prevent the resettlement of any refugees in the state.

Around 2,000 Syrian refugees entered the US in the last four years, and President Obama plans to let 10,000 in next year.

Some Alabamians want to open them with open arms, but others want to keep them out.

"In my opinion, we can decide who lives in the borders of Alabama," said State Representative Jim Patterson. "I think that Governor Bentley has more of a right to do that than President Obama does."

Rep. Patterson supports Bentley's ban, pointing out that at least one of the perpetrators of the terrorist attack in Paris last week was posing as a Syrian refugee.

MORE on the Paris attacks and global response

Others in the Tennessee Valley also agree.

Ric Dowell served two tours in Vietnam.

"Syrian refugees, it's kind of, they might stab us in the back," Dowell said. "Should keep all the refugees out of Alabama, if possible. This is America, we want to keep America, America."

Not everyone agrees with Bentley's assessment of the situation.

Nauman Qureshi says thousands of Syrians lost their homes, and we should help them - after we properly vet them.

"Make sure they don't have any crazy ideas about doing harm to the United States, and if they pass the test, then perhaps consider putting them in places where they would be welcome," Qureshi said.

Huntsvillian Tom Borcher acknowledges but the potential risk, but says giving people a chance to be happy is a higher reward.

"I understand there is a possibility that terrorists, some individual or some group might sneak in, but I'm also thinking about their little kids that have lost their home because its been blown out from under their feet," Borcher said.

At least 18 governors across the country have refused to let Syrian refugees into their state.

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