Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that he will request federal authorities to stop sending Syrian refugees to Maryland until assurances can be made that refugees "pose no threat to public safety."
In a post to his Facebook page, Hogan stated, "As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority. Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland."
Hogan's announcement came one day after more than two-dozen governors—25 Republicans and one Democrat—vowed to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in their states.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland was quick to weigh in, citing Hogan's statement as "a decision that goes against our common humanity."
"The current calls have nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with our inability to see Syrian refugees as fellow humans. To shut out Syrian families trying to rescue their children from persecution and in some cases starvation, is to refuse to help the victims of the very terrorism we decry," said Sirine Shebaya, an attorney directing the ACLU of Maryland's immigrant's rights advocacy.
Shebaya also pointed out the lack of legal authority governors hold over the immigration process. "Calls to bar Syrian refugees from American soil, in addition to being immoral, are also blatantly illegal. Refugee resettlement is a federal matter over which states have no authority. And freedom from racial profiling, religious discrimination, and discrimination based on national origin are at the heart of the values our constitution protects."
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has already made it clear that attracting refugees and immigrants to Baltimore, which has lost a third of its population since 1950, could be in the city's best interest. She reiterated her point in a statement released today following Hogan's announcement.
"There are few among us who can claim that their ancestors were indigenous to the United States," she said. "Welcoming immigrants and New Americans is a critical part of my strategy to grow Baltimore, and I hope that refugees from Syria will look to our city as a potential place to call home.
Democratic congressman Elijah E. Cummings also assessed the morality of Hogan's request.
"Turning our backs on refugees fleeing the same senseless violence we witnessed in Paris is not just heartless, it is a betrayal of America’s values," Cummings said in a statement. "Preserving the safety of Maryland’s residents and providing refuge for Syrians fleeing violence are not mutually exclusive; we can and must do both.”
Social media has been abuzz with mixed reactions to the governor's words with many people taking to Twitter to express their support or disapproval.
If anything happens in the US that is related to the refugees, I will personally thank Hogan for keeping Marylanders safe from the obvious.— Andrew Mayer (@YellowMorphsuit) November 17, 2015
Fear is getting to Larry Hogan and other U.S. governors who are closing their borders to refugees. Fear will only make the problem worse— emily k (@ylimekim) November 17, 2015
Maryland Governor Hogan joins ranks of those saying "no" to receiving Syrian refugees (3-year-old orphans or otherwise). 27 cowards.— Dianne Rennack (@drennack) November 17, 2015
Thank you Governor #Hogan for recognizing the possible threat the refugees pose. We need to be assured there is no threat before accepting.— Ginger Kid (@MattyStrauss) November 17, 2015
Kudos to Gov. Hogan, for saying NO to Syrian refugees. He did the right thing, at least til our WAR with ISIS is over....— Skip Richard (@skipsellshomes) November 17, 2015
FWIW I asked Gov. Hogan yesterday whether his wife being a 1st-generation immigrant would impact decision on refugees.. He said it did not— Christian Schaffer (@chrisfromabc2) November 17, 2015
Hogan decision adds MD to list of states saying no to Syrian refugees #MDPolitics Many experts dispute states have the authority to do so— Matt Bush (@MattBushMD) November 17, 2015