Do they have the legal authority to do so? Under current Supreme Court precedent, the answer is a clear “no,” though things might be different under the original meaning of the Constitution. In addition, state government discrimination against Syrian refugees likely violates the Fourteenth Amendment.
Limits on State Power to Bar Migrants.
As legal scholar Steve Vladeck explains, longstanding Supreme Court precedent holds that immigration policy is under the exclusive control of the federal government, and that states have no right to exclude any immigrants who have been lawfully admitted under federal law. This doctrine was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in Arizona v. United States (2012), where the Court struck down an Arizona state law intended to facilitate the exclusion of illegal immigrants.
Indeed, the Syrian case is a much easier one than Arizona was. In the latter instance, the state government claimed that it was merely trying to exclude migrants whose presence was illegal under federal law. If federal control over immigration policy preempts even state efforts to bolster the enforcement of federal law, it even more clearly prevents states from excluding migrants whose presence is actually legal under federal legislation (in this case, the 1980 Refugee Act).
State governments might be able to deny refugees some resettlement assistance currently provided by state agencies. But they can’t bar Syrian refugees from settling within their jurisdiction.”]
For the rest of the article head over to target=”_blank”>FEE.org. What are your thoughts? Is it too risky to admit Syrian refugees to the United States or should the U.S. harbor those seeking refuge from the Syrian civil war?