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Activists collect thousands of signatures demanding end to Syrian refugee “pause”

Nov 19, 2015

Credit UNHCR / flickr http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Activists have delivered thousands of signatures to Gov. Rick Snyder urging him to welcome more Syrian refugees. Snyder says he’s “pausing” his efforts to attract additional Syrian refugees to Michigan after last week’s attacks in Paris.

Julie Quiroz of Ann Arbor started an online petition asking the governor to reconsider. She says she didn’t expect it to get so much attention.

“We had like three people on it – my mom and everybody. And then it really took off,” said Quiroz. “And as of this morning we had 4,700 signatures. And they’re from all over the state.”

“I think the message is really clear – that all across Michigan people support the Syrian refugees and they support policies that are based on clear-headed thinking and compassion.”

The petition on the progressive website MoveOn.org reads:

We call on Governor Snyder to restore Michigan's commitment to resettlement for Syrian refugees and to comply with the Refugee Act of 1980, under which the President has the power to admit refugees who face "persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion" into the United States.

Quiroz says Snyder and other governors are being shortsighted.

“I think we’re going to see that the governors are going to be on the wrong side of their constituency and they’re going to be on the wrong side of history as well,” she said.

The governor’s spokesperson says he’s committed to bringing more Syrian refugees to Michigan, but only after federal officials review security procedures to make sure they’re working.