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Several States Are Refusing To Accept Refugees After Paris Attacks

It's a super counterintuitive strategy -- and totally not something they can legally do.

UPDATE (11/16/15) at 9:06 p.m. ET: In response to the several governors who have suspended acceptance of of refugees in their states, governors from the states of Connecticut, Vermont and Pennsylvania have reaffirmed their intent to accept Syrian refugees in their states.

Per The New York Times, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont stated that those governors who are closing their doors to potential refugee settlers "are stomping on the qualities that make America great," and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut said of the federal government's refugee screening processes, "We should be safe ... On the other hand, America has always had a big heart."

PREVIOUSLY: Governors from Alabama, Michigan, Texas, Florida and several states have each announced that they would no longer accept refugees in their states following the recent deadly attacks in Paris.

"As governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris," Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement released Monday (Nov. 16) about his decision. "Further, I — and millions of Americans —  implore you to halt your plans to accept more Syrian refugees in the United States. A Syrian 'refugee' appears to have been part of the Paris terror attack. American humanitarian compassion could be exploited to expose Americans to similar deadly danger."

Each governor wrote that they would no longer be participating in the Refugee Resettlement Program, arguing that bringing refugees from Syria into their states could be making it easier for members of ISIL to reach U.S. soil.

While there haven't been any refugees settled in Alabama yet, The Detroit Free Press reports that 1,800 to 2,000 refugees (including roughly 200 from Syria) have been settled in Michigan over the last year.

Republican Presidential Candidate and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal also wrote to President Obama urging against allowing more refugees and to "demand information about the Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana."

One small problem with these announcements? None of these governors actually have the power to follow through with these plans. As ThinkProgress reports, the Refugee Act of 1980 leaves decisions about who is allowed in the country as refugees in the hands of the president. While states can make the process significantly more difficult by denying resources to the program, the decision to admit refugees is totally out of their hands.

But here's why this kind of response is a problem.

Aside from the fact that it promotes a culture of fear and distrust toward muslim people, citizens and refugees (who are protected by international law) and the fact that ISIL has access to plenty of fighters with United States and European passports, these responses also fail to recognize that the only reason these refugees are coming to the United States and fleeing their countries and their homes is that they are running for their lives from these same militant extremists.

Closing our borders to refugees and denying them asylum from these acts of violence is a way to ensure that nobody wins.