“We are disappointed by Gov. Hutchinson’s threat to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in Arkansas. By turning his back on those fleeing a brutal conflict and seeking a safe place for themselves and their children, Governor Hutchinson dishonors the values of the hospitable people of Arkansas and the ideals upon which this great country was founded.

“Every schoolchild knows that American colonies were started as safe havens for the victims of tyranny and prejudice. America is known worldwide as the welcoming beacon to the tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

“By attempting to exclude this one group of people and tarnish them with the stain of terrorism, of which they themselves are victims, Governor Hutchinson is appealing to fear and prejudice, and thereby debasing us as Arkansans and Americans. I say ‘attempting,’ because governors do not have this power.

"Refugee settlement is the purview of the U.S. State Department and an extremely rigorous process involving multiple background checks and vetting by the Department of Homeland Security. Given the fact that states have no power over immigration, and cannot bar people from its borders because of their nationality, the governor’s position is not only un-American, but unconstitutional; it is pure grandstanding and appeals to our worst instincts.

“We call on Governor Hutchinson to instead affirm Arkansas and American values, and offer sanctuary, not condemnation and rejection, to those in need.”

Stay informed on Local and Nationwide Issues

ACLU of Arkansas is part of a network of affiliates

Learn more about ACLU National