Rauner temporarily suspends Illinois’ acceptance of Syrian refugees


By Bill Lukitsch, @Bill_LukitschDE

Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday that Illinois temporarily will not accept Syrian refugees in light of Friday’s attacks in Paris that left 129 dead.

Rauner’s statement pointed to potential security threats Illinois citizens face. He said the state will consider all legal options “pending a full review of our country’s acceptance and security processes by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

“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,” the statement read. “We must find a way to balance our tradition as a state welcoming of refugees while ensuring the safety and security of our citizens.”


The Obama administration’s decision to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees has been criticized by GOP leaders after officials said at least one of the Paris attackers was a Syrian refugee.

Rauner’s decision aligns with more than half the governors in the country — 26 states — including Arizona, Michigan, Georgia and Maine. Federal law delegates state governors as responsible for administering and supervising refugee resettlement programs in their respective states.

“Given that the governor’s first and most important constitutional duty is to protect the safety and security of Illinois residents, Gov. Rauner has simply taken the responsible and prudent step of suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees pending this ongoing review of our participation in the refugee resettlement program,” Rauner’s press secretary Catherine Kelly wrote in an email.

Bill Lukitsch can be contacted at 618-536-3325, [email protected] or on Twitter @Bill_LukitschDE.