The head of the Aiken County Republican Party will introduce a resolution Tuesday night asking Aiken County Council to reject all potential United Nations resettlement funds designated for Syrian refugees to resettle in Aiken County.
The request follows Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris that left more than 120 people dead and hundreds wounded.
The request arises out of the fear that because one of the suicide bombers in the Paris attacks reportedly entered Europe with Syrian refugees, others could, too.
President Barack Obama’s administration has said it will take in 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year.
“We’re asking County Council in the resolution to reject all refugee funding for the Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks,” said K.T. Ruthven, the chairman of the Aiken GOP.
“With the proximity of the Savannah River Site to Aiken, this becomes a matter of national security.”
South Carolina Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, also joined the call in a letter sent to Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday urging her not to accept refugee funding to accept Syrians in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“My understanding is that there currently is not a way to adequately and to safely examine refugees coming to the United States and potentially relocating in South Carolina,” Young wrote. “I ask that you take this step to protect South Carolina and our citizens’ safety in view of what we know at this time and in light of what happened in Paris this past Friday.”
S.C. House Rep. Chris Corley, R-Graniteville, also issued his own letter to Haley, encouraging her to “take a stand against any Syrian refugees being placed in the state of South Carolina.”
“As governor your first and most sacred duty is the safety of the citizens that you represent,” Corley wrote. “There is no legitimate way to vet these refugees. A vast majority of these refugees are single men, and not women and children. We have already seen that terrorists have emerged from the ranks of these ‘refugees’ to lash out with violent and brutal consequences. Please govern with common sense and take a stand.”
Governors across the United States also have verbally opposed bringing Syrian refugees into their states, but while Haley told the Associated Press on Monday she’s re-evaluating international refugee programs in light of recent events, she continues to support allowing the persecuted to come to South Carolina.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, among others, have announced opposition to the movement of refugees into their states, but Haley told the AP as long as nothing changes in who’s being resettled in the state, her stance on the matter won’t change.
“Over the weekend, Michigan’s governor suspended efforts to bring Syrian refugees to Michigan,” Young wrote. “I expect other states to follow in the days ahead, and I urge you to protect South Carolina by moving swiftly to stop any more Syrian refugees from coming to our state in view of current circumstances.”
In other business, Council will vote whether to approve a fee in lieu of tax in regard to a project known as Project Texas Wedge I.
Council will also vote on second reading whether to authorize a fee in lieu of tax and incentive agreement between Aiken County and AGY Aiken LLC, formerly known as Project Sand, in addition to establishing a joint multicounty industrial park agreement between Aiken and Barnwell counties and AGY Aiken LLC.
Tuesday’s Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. in Aiken County Government Center’s Council Chambers, 1930 University Parkway.
Dan Brown is the government reporter with Aiken Standard.
Digital news editor Maayan Schechter contributed to this article.