By Channing Joseph
France is renewing its vow to welcome 30,000 refugees fleeing countries like Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the wake of last week’s terror attacks, which killed more than 100 people in Paris.
That is 6,000 more than the number that had been announced in September, despite conservatives’ fears that some refugees may pose security risks.
“Some people say the tragic events of the last few days have sown doubts in their minds,” French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday (Nov. 18), according to ABC News, adding, “We have to reinforce our borders while remaining true to our values.”
“France will remain a country of freedom,” Hollande continued.
On Monday (Nov. 16), Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, had called for an "immediate halt" to the acceptance of all refugees into the country. Fears that Islamic State terrorists might pose as such were sparked by the discovery of a fake Syrian passport found near the scene of a suicide bombing at the Stade de France stadium last week.
Hollande’s decision comes amid statements from more than half of U.S. governors (30 total, as of Nov. 18) opposing President Obama’s plan to resettle 10,000 refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. The Republican-led House of Representatives is rushing to hold a vote this week to halt the President’s plan.
In a letter to Obama on Monday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claimed his state “will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.”
Several Republican presidential hopefuls have also spoken out against allowing refugees from Syria, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who both suggested the U.S. should only take in Christian refugees from Syria and not Muslim ones.
The President said such statements are “a potent recruitment tool” for the Islamic State terrorist organization and are just “political posturing,” as state governors do not have the constitutional power to prevent resettlement of refugees. All but one of the governors are Republican.
"Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America," he told reporters in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday. "At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said on Tuesday he opposed the resettlement of refugees from Syria, even "orphans under 5."