As Republican governors react to the deadly attacks Friday in Paris by trying to close their states’ doors to Syrian refugees, Democratic Gov. David Ige said Monday that he will not be abandoning Hawaii’s “tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect.”

“Our first priority is the safety of the American people, including the people of the State of Hawaii,” he said in a statement.

“The U.S. accepts refugees, including Syrians, only after they are subjected to the most vigorous and highest level of screening and security vetting. As President Obama has said – slamming the door in their face would be a betrayal of our values.”

Governor David Ige during interview with Eric Pape. 30 oct 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Gov. David Ige, seen here during an interview in his office last month, said Hawaii will not betray the country’s values by rejecting refugees. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Ige pointed at how Hawaii and the U.S. have a long history of welcoming refugees impacted by war and oppression.

“Hawaii is the Aloha State, known for its tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect,” he said. “I am confident that our state will work closely with the federal government to ensure that appropriate resources and support are available before any refugees arrive in Hawaii.”

At least 22 Republican governors and one Democratic governor have taken action to prevent Syrian refugees from settling in their states, according to a USA Today story.

The debate has quickly turned to whether states have the authority to reject people based on their nationality, the article says.

Obama has so far rejected calls to put “boots on the ground” in Syria in response to the attacks that have killed at least 129 people, according to a story Monday in The Guardian.

French President François Hollande said his country is “at war” and he is doing everything in his power to hunt down the 27-year-old Belgian who is suspected of being the architect of the assault, the New York Times reported.

Hollande said the attacks were “planned in Syria, organized in Belgium, perpetrated on our soil with French complicity.” He plans to meet with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin soon to strategize ways to destroy the Islamic State in Syria.

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