UPDATE: Make that 30 states now, but the State Department says their refugee status grants them legal rights the "freedom to move from state to state," according to ABC News.
UPDATE II: As Guy wrote today, a third suspect in Paris terrorist attack posed as a Syrian refugee.
Yesterday, 16 governors from across the country said they would not accept Syrian refugees until the security concerns over vetting these people could be addressed. Right now, the FBI openly stated that they couldn’t screen every refugee that would enter the United States. In light of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris, that’s not reassuring at all. Now, a majority of the states are solidly against Syrian relocation efforts (via CNN) [emphasis mine]:
More than half the nation's governors -- 27 states -- say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government.
States protesting the admission of refugees range from Alabama and Georgia, to Texas and Arizona, to Michigan and Illinois, to Maine and New Hampshire. Among these 27 states, all but one have Republican governors.
The announcements came after authorities revealed that at least one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris terrorist attacks entered Europe among the current wave of Syrian refugees. He had falsely identified himself as a Syrian named Ahmad al Muhammad and was allowed to enter Greece in early October.
States whose governors oppose Syrian refugees coming in:
Louisiana governor and GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal complained bitterly in an open letter to Obama that the federal government had not informed his government about refugees being relocated to his state last week.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said, "We have very extensive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who have come to the United States. There is a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our National Counter Terrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we are carefully screening anybody that comes to the United States."
New York Rep. Peter King, speaking on Fox News, cast doubt on Rhodes' comments.
"What he said about the vetting of the refugees is untrue. There is virtually no vetting cause there are no databases in Syria, there are no government records. We don't know who these people are."
By 2017, the overall refugee cap is set to increase to 100,000 from the previous quota of 70,000. Syrians are expected to benefit the most from the change in policy, but one that also exacerbates the current security problem.
Probably the best thing that the United States could do to help these people is to fight ISIS–seriously. Yet, that’s not in the cards for this president. He isn’t changing his strategy on ISIS, which–in his mind–is working. He’s also not interested in winning this fight with ISIS, which was evident in his remarks.
“What I’m not interested in doing is posing or pursuing some notion of American leadership or America winning or whatever other slogans they come up with that has no relationship to what is actually going to work to protect the American people and to protect the people in the region who are getting killed and to protect our allies and people like France. I’m too busy for that,” said the president in his press conference in Turkey yesterday. Obama is attending the G-20 summit.
Lastly, putting on my old MRC hat, CNN also noted that the vast majority of the states that are opposing refugee relocation are Republican. How’s that relevant? Democrat or Republican, this is a serious national security issue. Frankly, this is yet another theatrical production of bad public policy theater, which has pitted the states against the president again. The first being Obamacare; the second (albeit underreported) being the president’s energy policy; and now this. Maybe if the Obama administration were more focused on actually governing than policies aimed at trying to drag this right-of-center country to the left, things would turn out better for them.
Recently, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to Obama urging him to stop relocation efforts until a proper screening process can be established.