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Oregon Gov.: We Will Welcome Syrian Refugees

Oregon Gov.: We Will Welcome Syrian Refugees

Oregon Governor Kate Brown

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, the nation's first openly LGBT governor, is responding to growing anti-refugee sentiment with a welcoming warmth. 

As conservative governors (and presidential hopefuls) around the country sound off about what kind of international refugees they believe the U.S. should accept, the nation's first openly LGBT governor has a much different tactic.

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is bisexual, stressed that her state will continue to offer refuge to the world's tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The words on the Statue of Liberty apply in Oregon just as they do in every other state. Clearly, Oregon will continue...

Posted by Governor Kate Brown on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"Clearly, Oregon will continue to accept refugees," the Democrat tweeted Tuesday. "They seek safe haven and we will continue to open the doors of opportunity to them."

Brown, who assumed office in February after a corruption scandal felled her predecessor, doubled-down on her commitment to housing refugees and respecting the jurisdiction of federal immigration authorities in a letter to a Republican lawmaker in her state on Tuesday.

"As Oregonians, it is our moral obligation to help them rebuild their lives," Brown wrote to Rep. Bill Post, according to The Oregonian. "In Oregon we will continue to abide by federal laws regarding resettlement. Oregon does not have a direct role or act independently of the federal government."

In the wake of Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, which claimed 129 lives, Republican governors from 28 states have said they will reject Syrian refugees -- although federal law is clear that these state leaders lack the authority to categorically reject resettlement, according to Vox.

Meanwhile, Republican presidential hopefuls Chris Christie, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio, have suggested the U.S. should turn away all refugees from Syria -- who currently number more than 4 million displaced since the start of the country's civil war. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee advocated the closing all U.S. borders and placing an "immediate moratorium on admission to those persons from counties where there is a sting presence of ISIS or Al-Queda."

And top-polling GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump not only called for the Obama administration to refuse to accept Syrian refugees, but also suggested that any Syrians already in the U.S. be deported at a rally on Monday. Texas senator, presidential hopeful, and The Advocate's Phobie of the Year in 2014, Ted Cruz, offered another proposal in the form of a bill he plans to introduce in Congress: Bar all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. -- unless they're Christian.

House Speaker Paul Ryan called for a "pause" in President Obama's program that would allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to settle in the U.S., according to Media Matters. He also plans to introduce a bill to halt the current administration's program for accepting refugees.

Anti-immigrant sentiment, especially in regard to refugees from predominantly Muslim nations in the war-torn Middle East, has reached a fever pitch in the wake of Friday's terrorist attack in Paris, responsibility for which was claimed by the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Although French authorities initially reported finding a Syrian passport allegedly belonging to one of the attackers, that passport is now believed to be fake, and all terrorists directly involved in the Paris attacks have been European nationals, ThinkProgress notes.

The Oregonian reports that there is just one Syrian refugee currently living in Oregon.

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