Haley joined a growing number of mostly Republican governors in saying they would refuse to allow Syrian refugees into their states if the Obama administration goes through with its plan to let 10,000 into the country.
There are no Syrian refugees currently in South Carolina, she said, adding if that were to change, she would have to re-evaluate her stance on accepting refugees. Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigration, said under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.
Despite the legal obstacles, state lawmakers have called on Haley to reject any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees. Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, also sent a letter to Haley, before she made her announcement, imploring her to cancel the agreement her office and the Department of Social Services had made with third-party groups to provide shelter for refugees. “You are on the record of supporting this refugee program,” Peeler wrote. “As Senate Majority Leader, I implore you to protect our state from terrorist activity.”