Arizona Governor Doug Ducey asks for 'immediate halt' of new refugees coming into the state

PHOENIX - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced on Monday a halt in accepting refugees into the state, according to a statement on his website.

“Given the horrifying events in Paris last week, I am calling for an immediate halt in the placement of any new refugees in Arizona,” Ducey said in a statement.

Several other states have made similar requests.

This announcement follows other governors’ decision on halting new refugees into their states in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Many are wondering if Ducey would even have the power to make that call.

Immigration attorney Ezequiel Hernandez said he doesn't. 

"Technically, the federal government has the ability to make decisions in regards to immigration," Hernandez said.

That doesn't mean there aren't things the state can do like make its concerns known, which is what Ducey and several other governors have done.

"The state can definitely challenge the administration," Hernandez said.

Almost immediately after Ducey's announcement, human rights group Puente spoke up against it.

"I think that he's creating hate, and I think that he's stirring a lot of hysteria that's already out there," said director Francisca Porchas.

Hernandez said it's a tough call, but the move by states like Arizona could pay off.

“I also call on Congress and the President to immediately amend federal law to provide states greater oversight and authority in the administration of the placement of refugees,” Ducey said in the statement. “These acts serve as a reminder that the world remains at war with radical Islamic terrorists. Our national leaders must react with the urgency and leadership that every American expects to protect our citizens.”

ABC15 reached out to local offices of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection. They referred all media requests to DHS headquarters, who didn’t return calls or emails as of Monday evening.

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