Our View:On Syrian refugees – find a better plan

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this opinion was written, Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Governors Greg Abbot of Texas, Mike Pence of Indiana, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Phil Bryant of Mississippi said their states would no longer help support the Obama administration’s goal of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming years. These governors join Alabama and Michigan governors and more than half of the country’s other governors who contend it is too dangerous to let people from the war-torn country following the recent deadly Paris attacks] It was certainly refreshing to hear that at least a couple of state governors have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to this president’s insane actions and abused executive orders by coming out saying they would not resettle any refugees from Syria in their states. This comes amid reports that at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s immigration system and concerns about “gaping holes” impacting America’s screening process. We would certainly encourage our very own governor, Asa Hutchinson, to follow in the foot steps of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder by refusing to allow any of these refugees into the states until the Department of Homeland Security puts forth a screening process that is better than the one in place now. Gov. Snyder aid that while his state welcomes newcomers, it is important that the state’s first priority is protecting the safety of its residents. It was interesting to learn that between 1,800 and 2,000 refugees had been resettled in Michigan over the past year and that approximately 200 of those were from Syria. In Alabama, Gov. Bentley said he reached his decision “after full consideration of the weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris.” The Alabama governor went on to say he will not stand complicit to a policy that paces the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.” Well, good for him and we encourage Gov. Hutchinson to also step up to the place in a show of solidarity. We’re told, no Syrian refugees have been relocated in Alabama so far, though some have been processed by neighboring states. According to a state official, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is working diligently with federal agencies to monitor any possible threats. It also appears Louisiana governor and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal is raising concerns about Syrian refugees, particularly those in his home state, but has not taken similar action as that in Alabama or Michigan. Jindal did say in a letter to Obama, as if Obama really gives a darn, that Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state and went on to say, “It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement … as governor of Louisiana, I demand information.” Even as all that is going on, Obama still plans to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the county within the next year and national security experts have already said they checks and balance system in place by Homeland Security is incapable of insuring absolute safeguards to be effective. Even Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, has come out and said there are several problems with the Obama administration’s plan, including not having a comprehensive list of the estimated 5,000 or more foreign fighters around the world. While Gov. Hutchinson remains focused on his economic development agenda we would seriously hope that he would assure the citizens of Arkansas that he will not allow the influx of foreign refugees into this state without absolute assurances that they can be trusted.


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