Protesters march on the Governor’s mansion in support of refugees

AUSTIN (KXAN) – There’s not much middle ground anymore. You are either against or for bringing Syrians fleeing violence into Texas, now one of the hottest debates in Texas and the country. People are balancing their compassion and their desire for security when it comes to taking 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. Texas State Governor released a message earlier this week stating that Texas would not allow Syrian refugees. A protest Sunday was aimed at changing Governor Abbott’s mind.

“I used to say goodbye to my parents leaving the house because I didn’t know if I was going to come back or not,” said Nour al Ghraowi. She fled her country and now goes to school at UT-Austin. She’s a member of the Syrian People Solidarity Group which takes their anger out on both political parties, but view Governor Abbott as their main foe.

Several hundred protestors lined the street along Wooldridge Park, where Citrine Ghraowi led chants to bring in refugees.

“They go through a 9-11 every single day, losing hundreds of thousands of people,” said Ghraowi.

As two bus loads of APD officers watched on and patrolled the surrounding roads the crowd went on the move. They walked a few blocks and continued their chants right in front of the Governor’s mansion.

Matthey Bell wants the Governor to open state services to incoming Syrians.

“It sends a message of hate without anything really to back it up,” said Bell.

The protest remained peaceful – no arrests were made. But while the debate rages, voices are raising in Austin and around Texas.

Last week, two Syrian families were detained in the Laredo section of US-Mexico border.

Governor Abbott ordered the Texas Human Health and Services Commission to not participate in President Obama’s Syrian refugee program. He cites the FBI’s own advice that its security background checks aren’t strong enough for the thousands of syrians trying to come to America. He worries a Paris-style terroristic attack could happen on American soil and that ISIS is hiding amongst the refugees. He spoke on FOX News about the issue.

“And it’s our responsibility for me as the Governor of the state of Texas, and for all leaders in this nation, to put our national security and the security of our fellow Americans, first,” Gov. Abbott said on air.

This week the U.S. senate could vote against the President’s plan.The House voted against the President last week. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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