Georgia governor withdraws order to refuse Syrian refugees

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 04, 2016 3:03 PM

(Reuters) - Georgia Governor Nathan Deal on Monday rescinded his executive order seeking to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state after the state's attorney general ruled he did not have the authority to deny them entry or federally funded benefits.

Deal, a Republican, had been among more than two dozen U.S. governors who sought to block refugees from the war-torn country from their states after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, for which the Islamic State militant group claimed credit. Many Republican presidential candidates have also expressed opposition to allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

Deal cited an opinion last week by Georgia Attorney General Samuel Olens, also a Republican, in his new order withdrawing his instructions to state agencies to halt involvement in accepting Syrian refugees for resettlement.

Olens had ruled that Georgia did not have the authority to exclude refugees from particular countries, despite concerns about the federal government's security screening procedures.

The Obama administration plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States in the coming year.

(Reporting by Colleen Jenkins in Winston-Salem, N.C.; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)