Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett jumped on the anti-refugee bandwagon Monday, declaring he was urging President Obama to stop accepting Syrians fleeing the crisis into the United States.

Bartlett joined a wave of politicians eager to show their opposition to Syrian refugees. The pronouncements followed reports that a Syrian passport was found next to one of the eight terrorists who carried out Friday’s attacks in Paris. (The authenticity of that passport remains in doubt given the problem of fraudulent passports coming out of Syria.)

Governors in Alabama, Texas and Michigan were the first to announce early Monday they would not accept Syrian refugees. Since then, 24 other governors, all but one Republican, have made similar statements.

Gov. Mary Fallin issued a statement calling on the president to stop accepting refugees from Syria until federal officials can “assure the public that the background checks they are doing are rigorous, and that American lives will not be endangered in the process.”

(Note: Since 2012, just three Syrian refugees have moved to Oklahoma.)

Bartlett’s Facebook announcement on Monday states he is drafting a letter to President Obama “urging him not to accept any more Syrian refugees into our country.”

“We should never have allowed this to begin with,” Bartlett’s Facebook post states.

Though the post received more than 1,100 likes on Facebook, there were also more than 700 comments on Facebook and numerous tweets, many negative in reaction to his stance:

“Just doing this for election purposes. Fanning the flames of hate when he has no say in the matter. Sad.”

“Mayor Bartlett, your response is an embarrassment, sir. If you’ve ever read a Bible, you might be familiar with the story of Middle Eastern refugees seeking shelter and being turned away. Spoiler: the couple had their baby in a stable.”

“Although the Paris attackers may have hid in with the true Syrian refugees to gain access to Europe, I think not accepting true refugees is a humanitarian disgrace. Once the refugees have been vetted, there’s no problem with allowing them in. These people are fleeing what we’re fighting against.”

Other commenters agreed with Bartlett’s concerns, with several asking how refugees lacking proof of identity can be vetted.

“We need to utilize more intense and sophisticated methods of screening all those seeking refuge. Though we are a nation of immigrants our first obligation is to our citizens.”

“If we accidentally let in one Isis out of the 5,000 and he killed one American, it would not be worth the 4,999 we helped in my view.”

While Bartlett at least acknowledged he has no authority to reject refugees, other politicians making these pronouncements have said they can take such actions.  

Longstanding federal law gives the federal government exclusive authority over immigration policy. There does appear to be some question about whether a state or local community can actively block resettlement of refugees. Officials opposing settlement of refugees can certainly make their city or state as unwelcoming as possible.

 In contrast, Tulsa’s YWCA issued a statement Monday noting that it stands ready to assist any Syrian refugees who choose to settle in the area.

“Tulsa is known as a welcoming community with conservative roots and ideals,” said Christy Huff, director of immigrant and refugee services for YWCA Tulsa. “We have a rich history of serving those who are in need of our help, and I have no doubts that our city, if called upon, will rise to the occasion yet again.”

Officials rushing to close the door to Syrian refugees may have forgotten the public outcry over the heartbreaking image of a 3-year-old toddler, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned while trying to escape the conflict in Syria.

Many other Syrians have drowned while making the same dangerous passage in small boats.

President Obama has criticized the actions of governors and other public officials who have said they would refuse to accept Syrian refugees.    

“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” he said Monday during the G20 economic summit in Antalya, Turkey.

While other countries have taken in more than 4 million Syrians fleeing the conflict, the U.S. hasn’t exactly accepted a flood of refugees. So far, the country has taken in about 2,000 Syrian refugees since 2011, about 0.03 percent of the total.

Obama announced in September that the United States would increase the number of Syrian refugees it accepts annually, to 10,000 next year. This is just a tiny fraction of the estimated 13.5 million Syrians who need humanitarian assistance.

U.S officials have pointed out that such refugees undergo the highest level of screening possible, a process that takes an average of 18-24 months. The National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense are all involved in the process, according to the State Department.

While authorities continue to investigate the attackers’ backgrounds, it appears that several of the eight terrorists who carried out the Paris attacks were French or Belgian citizens, including one French national who may have visited Syria, where ISIS has its self-declared capital.

The discovery of a Syrian passport near the remains of one of the suicide bombers has stoked fears that ISIS is using the refugee crisis as cover to infiltrate countries where it plans to carry out attacks.

Some pundits have noted that ISIS would like nothing more than to generate a backlash against the Syrian refugees. Keeping those millions of fleeing citizens in Syria gives ISIS more people to recruit, rule over and kill.

Officials have cautioned that one of the attackers may have posed as a Syrian fleeing the crisis, according to the New York Times and other news reports.

While improved screening practices are always a good idea — regardless of whether one of the attackers was a Syrian — it’s unfair to punish people escaping that brand of hateful ideology merely because ISIS is trying to take over their country. It’s also unfair to stigmatize Muslims among us.

Muslims in Oklahoma and elsewhere have repeatedly condemned the actions and extremist ideology held by ISIS and similar groups.