PHOENIX—The ACLU of Arizona strongly opposes Gov. Doug Ducey’s call for “an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona.”

The U.S. has a rigorous and multi-layered security screening program in place for refugees seeking to resettle here. All refugees must pass background checks conducted by multiple U.S. agencies before being approved to travel to or settle in the U.S. In fact, refugees are the single most scrutinized and vetted individuals who travel to the U.S. They undergo intense security checks by intelligence agencies that include biometric tests, medical screenings, and in-person interviews with Department of Homeland Security officials.

Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona said:

“Drawing a link between the tragedy in Paris and the admission and resettlement of refugees in the U.S. is nothing more than fear-mongering that blames refugees for the very terror they are fleeing. By standing in the way of aiding victims of war and calamity, Gov. Ducey further tarnishes the state’s reputation by reinforcing the idea that Arizonans are intolerant and unwelcoming. It also recklessly advances stereotypes that foment racist and anti-Muslim aggression.

“The U.S. has been a leader in resettling refugees from Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, and many other regions of the world. Gov. Ducey should not stand in the way of this proud tradition of extending a hand to people who are simply trying to find a safe, welcoming place to call home.”