Barack Obama wants to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States over the next year. But more than half of the country’s governors — 26 Republicans and one Democrat, New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan — are opposed to allowing refugees to resettle in their state:
The Obama administration has suggested the governors don’t have the authority to turn away the refugees, and some Republicans have acknowledged that could be an issue. President Obama plans to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. over the next year.
Still, the governors believe their calls will put pressure on the administration to improve the vetting of refugees. It is also leading to mounting pressure on Congress to block entry of the refugees.
Several bills are being introduced to block asylum seekers, to prevent them from getting visas or to block funding for the resettlement program.
Governors also want greater coordination of the vetting process:
“While screening, acceptance and placement is legally under the authority of the federal government, they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in a statement.
“Right now there’s almost no coordination or communication between the state and federal officials on this issue,” North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday morning on Fox News.
“It’s fair for the governors to ask the question — what type of background check can you do when individuals [are] coming from a country that’s torn apart?” he asked. “What types of background checks are you actually going through?”
Considering that at least one of the bombers who carried out the recent attack on Paris was a Syrian refugee, it’s hard to fault the governors for their caution. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley put it best: “My heart says that we should let these people in. But my head says that I have to protect the people of the state of Alabama and keep them secure.”
Where do you think YOUR governor should stand on this issue?