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Georgia Attorney General: State Can't Stop Block Syrian Refugees

December 31, 2015 (1 min read)

Associated Press, Dec. 30, 2015 - "Georgia cannot exclude Syrian refugees from resettlement in the state or deny them federally funded benefits, the state attorney general wrote in an official opinion Wednesday.

Gov. Nathan Deal had asked Attorney General Sam Olens for an opinion on an executive order he issued in November directing state agencies to "halt any involvement" in the acceptance of Syrian refugees. Deal said he wanted to block Syrian refugee resettlement in the state until the U.S. State Department establishes and Congress approves a new processes for vetting them.

"I am unaware of any law or agreement that would permit a state to carve out refugees from particular countries from participation in the refugee resettlement program, no matter how well-intentioned or justified the desire to carve out such refugees might be," Olens wrote. "Accordingly, it is my official opinion that both federal law and the State's agreement to act as the state refugee resettlement coordinator prevent the State from denying federally-funded benefits to Syrian refugees lawfully admitted into the United States.""