The Slatest

France Will Still Take 30,000 Syrian Refugees, President Says

French President François Hollande leaving the Élysée Palace in Paris on Nov. 18, 2015.

Photo by Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images

While American politicians compete in the wake of the Paris terror attacks to see who can most hysterically denounce the possibility of accepting Syrian refugees, French President François Hollande said Wednesday that his country will follow through on its pre-attack commitment to take in 30,000 Syrians fleeing that country’s conflict:

“Some have wanted to link the influx of refugees to Friday’s acts of terror,” Hollande said in a speech to French mayors. But “30,000 refugees will be welcomed in the next two years.” … He said France has a simultaneous duty to ensure “humanity for refugees and protection of the French people.”


“I know your worries,” Hollande said. “We also have to verify people who are coming onto the European territory and into France to make sure there are zero risks for our country. So we will be executing necessary verification before accepting any refugees onto our soil.”


Said Hollande: “Our duty is to carry on our lives.”

President Obama has said the U.S. will take in 10,000 displaced Syrians, a plan that many Republican governors (and one Democratic governor) are now protesting because of the purported danger that ISIS operatives will infiltrate refugee groups. State governors do not appear to have any statutory authority to reject refugees, while the process of being approved for entry takes 18–24 months and includes multiple security measures. Obama has criticized Republicans for suggesting the U.S. renege on its commitment.

The perpetrators of Friday’s Paris attacks who have thus far been identified were French citizens. A passport found near one of the Friday suicide bombers identifying him as a Syrian refugee is believed to be a faked document, though fingerprint evidence appears to show that, whatever the man’s real name and origin, he did pass through Greece earlier this year in the guise of a refugee.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the Paris attacks.