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Lacking legal authority, Georgia governor withdraws order seeking to block Syrian refugee resettlement

AP

Georgia’s governor has withdrawn an executive order trying to stop resettlement of Syrian refugees after the state’s attorney general ruled he didn’t have that authority.

Gov. Nathan Deal rescinded the order Monday, five days after Attorney General Sam Olens issued an official opinion that the state could not exclude Syrian refugees from coming to Georgia or deny them federally funded benefits.

Deal’s initial order in November directed state agencies to “halt any involvement” in the acceptance of Syrian refugees until federal authorities change the process for vetting them. At the time, he cited a terrorist attack three days earlier in Paris. Other governors issued similar directions.

Deal later asked Olens to weigh in after questions from the federal agency that oversees the federally funded food stamp program.