There's surprisingly little pattern to the states whose governors have expressed the desire to refuse new Syrian refugees within their states' borders. As of writing, the governors of 14 states have expressed opposition to new refugees. Thirteen are Republicans, though five of those 13 lead states that voted for Barack Obama in 2012 (Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and Ohio). Five -- including the sole Democrat, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire -- are running for reelection or higher office next year. Two are running for president.
But all of the states do have one thing in common: Each welcomed new refugees from Iraq between the years 2012 and 2014, according to data from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. In all but two -- Louisiana and New Hampshire -- refugees from Syria have been placed since the start of that country's civil war.
Refugees from across the globe have found initial homes in just about every state, according to the data. Over the three-year period for which data is available, California and Texas were the states where the most refugees went to live -- unsurprising, given their sizes.
Most have also included Syrian refugees among those numbers -- albeit very few. The state with the most Syrian refugees over that period was California, followed by Arizona and Illinois. The governors of both of those states have asked to halt Syrian refugees.
Interestingly, a large number of the refugees that have settled in the United States come from Iraq -- the country that's often mentioned alongside Syria given that it, too, has a strong presence of fighters from the Islamic State.
In 2012, a fifth of the refugees initially resettled in the states were from Iraq. In 2013 and 2014, the figures were over 25 percent. (All of these refugees went through the federal screening process in order to gain admission to the United States, as would any future refugees.)
What's changed since refugees from the Middle East arrived in these states after the beginning of the Syrian War isn't necessarily the risk posed by the refugees. It's the politics of refugees at large.
Update: By Monday evening, the number of states had increased to 23, 22 of which had Republican governors. Sixteen of the 23 states at some point between 2012 and 2014 housed Syrian refugees -- 124 refugees in total. The 23 states also welcomed over 28,000 refugees from Iraq over those three years.