CONTACT:  ACLU of Florida Media Office,, (786) 363-2737

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott sent a letter calling on Congress to stop efforts to place Syrian refugees in Florida.

Responding to that letter, ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon stated:

“Governor Scott should not turn his back on our nation’s long and proud history of offering refuge to those escaping from conflict zones – of welcoming the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

“We mourn those lost in the horrific attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad, and wish to express our condolences, grief and condemnation. However, we must also warn against what we have often seen since 9/11: the impulse in the wake of a terrorist attack to overreact and curtail the freedoms that make our country great.

“By calling for the refugees fleeing Syria to be denied placements because of some perceived link between those fleeing violence and the perpetrators of that violence, Governor Scott is letting fear take control. Not only is the settlement of refugees an obligation of the U.S. State Department, not state governors, but the U.S. refugee system is extremely rigorous, involving multiple background checks and vetting by the Department of Homeland Security. By claiming in the wake of the tragedy in Paris that this vetting process is suddenly insufficient for Florida, Governor Scott is punishing refugees for the horrible attacks perpetrated by the kinds of terrorists they are trying to escape.

“We should not give in to impulses to deny people rights based on their national origin, race, or religion. Instead of blaming Syrian refugees for the very violence they are escaping, we call on Governor Scott to affirm the need for refugees to have a place to take sanctuary from the brutality of ISIS.”

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