Ohio, Michigan governors take stance on Syrian refugee resettlement

Ohio, Michigan governors take stance on Syrian refugee resettlement

(WTOL) - Friday's terror attacks in Paris have prompted governors of several states to close their borders to Syrian refugees, including Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

The White House said Sunday that the US will still plan on allowing 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country over the next year, and President Obama has said that Americans have a "moral obligation" to help people who are also victims of terrorism.

"We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence, and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism," he said, speaking at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey.

Gov. Kasich issued a response Monday on Fox Business News:

"There is no way that we can put our people at risk by bringing people in at this point. You ask a question, 'Should anyone be coming here at the end of the year?' The answer to that should be no. We cannot jeopardize our people. It is not just an issue of the heart, it is an issue of the head. I hope that perhaps Congress can get involved in this to say, 'We're not going do this.' We cannot let people in here unless we know clearly who they are. Let me be clear, there should be nothing done on this. No more entry into this country at this point in time until a significant amount of time has been invested into who these people are, then they can't come in. It is just that simple."

Jim Lynch, Communications Director for Gov. Kasich's Office, also offered the following statement:

"The governor doesn't believe the US should accept additional Syrian refugees because security and safety issues cannot be adequately addressed. The governor is writing to the president to ask him to stop, and to ask him to stop resettling them in Ohio. We are also looking at what additional steps Ohio can take to stop resettlement of these refugees."

Neighboring state Michigan, which hosts one of the largest Arab-American populations in the country, will not be accepting any Syrian refugees until the US Department of Homeland Security fully reviews its procedures, said Gov. Snyder.

US Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) took a stance on the issue by posting on his Facebook page:

"As a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, I have been raising my deep concerns about taking Syrian refugees because of our government's inability to properly check their backgrounds to know who they are and why they are coming. When I raised this issue in a hearing last month and questioned Administration witnesses about whether the influx of refugees would subject Americans to risk, the answers I got were deeply troubling. To that end, I call on the Administration to immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States until there has been a thorough review of DHS and State Department vetting procedures to ensure that no terrorists or individuals with links to Islamist (sic) extremist groups make it into the United States, as they have in France."

Speaking to CNN's State of the Union, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that the US plan to settle displaced Syrians includes an extensive review process involving several agencies, and that vetting process could take 12-18 months.

"With respect to refugees, we have the most extensive security vetting that we have ever had to deal with Syrian refugees coming into the United States," Rhodes said to CNN. "Some of these people are people who have suffered the horrors of war. They're women. They're orphans."

After Friday's attacks in Paris, local, state and national leaders spoke out on how providing Syrian refugees a safe haven in the US may now present challenges in ensuring citizen safety.

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