WASHINGTON, Nov 17 : Nearly half of the 50 US states moved on Monday to shut the door on Syrian refugees as Republican lawmakers urged a halt to the resettlement programme, citing security fears following the Paris attacks.
President Barack Obama pushed back, criticizing "shameful" calls to screen the refugees fleeing the war-torn country based on their religion.
The discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one Paris assailant has revived Europe's debate on how hard a line to take on the record migrant influx.
In the United States, several Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio said outright that America must not take in Syrian refugees because they might include Islamic State (IS) militants.
And Republican state governors lined up to demand the suspension of plans to resettle Syrians. "I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi," added that state's governor, Phil Bryant.
Obama's policy of welcoming such individuals "is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous," he said.
Alabama and Michigan announced their opposition on Sunday.
They have been joined by Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,
outh Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin
New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan -- a Democrat -- Maggie Hassan has backed them. ?AFP