Walker Says State Will Not Accept Syrian Refugees
Governor Scott Walker joined several other states governors on Monday opposing allowing Syrian refugees into their states.
In a statement Walker issued his concerns with the federal Syrian refugee resettlement program:
“In light of these horrific and tragic attacks, our first priority must be to protect our citizens. Along with governors across the country, I have deep concerns about the Obama Administration’s plan to accept 10,000 or more Syrian refugees, especially given that one of the Paris attackers was reportedly a Syrian refugee. In consultation with our Adjutant General, who also serves as my Homeland Security Advisor, it is clear that the influx of Syrian refugees poses a threat. With this in mind, I am calling upon the President to immediately suspend the program pending a full review of its security and acceptance procedures. The State of Wisconsin will not accept new Syrian refugees. There may be those who will try to take advantage of the generosity of our country and the ability to move freely within our borders through this federal resettlement program, and we must ensure we are doing all we can to safeguard the security of Americans. Furthermore, I am opposed to recently introduced legislation encouraging the state to accept Syrian refugees in Wisconsin.”
The governors were responding to heightened concerns that terrorists might use the refugees as cover to sneak across borders, according to CBS News.
One of the attackers in Paris had a Syrian passport.
Seven of the eight terrorist suspects from the attack, however, were European and only one is thought to be from Syria.
Some Republican presidential candidates have also called for the United States to halt its Syrian refugee policy. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that the U.S. should focus on creating safe havens for Syrian refugees in the region rather than bringing them to the U.S., and that there is a "special important need" to help Syrian Christians.
"There should be really thorough screening [of refugees coming to the U.S.] and we should focus on creating safe havens for refugees in Syria rather than bringing them all the way across to the United States," Bush said. "But I do think there is a special important need to make sure that Christians from Syria are being protected because they are being slaughtered in the country and but for us who? Who would take care of the number of Christians that right now are completely displaced?"
The governors of at least 24 states have announced they will not accept Syrian refugees. All of the states are home to republican Governors except one, New Hampshire.
Ahmed Quereshi, president of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, said taking such a stance is a misrepresentation of what's going on.
"The problem is when a person makes a statement that all Syrian refugees should be kept out of the country because we know that the vast majority of victims of ISIS are Syrians themselves and they're fleeing this persecution," Quereshi, said. "So to try to block the refugees on just a wholesale basis from Syria, I think it's un-American."
Syrians are now the world's largest refugee population, according to the United Nations. Most are struggling to find safe haven in Europe. Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011.