Haley asks State Department not to resettle Syrian refugees in SC

Governor Nikki Haley
Governor Nikki Haley
Published: Nov. 16, 2015 at 11:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 26, 2015 at 11:13 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley joined a growing list of Governors asking the State Department to exclude their states from refugee resettlement.

In response to growing concerns that terrorists might use the refugee resettlement program as cover to sneak across borders.

French authorities said a Syrian passport was found near one of the attackers, and the Paris prosecutor's office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.

She says no Syrians have been brought to South Carolina, and refugees from other nations that have resettled in South Carolina have been persecuted for being Christians, for their political views, or because they were interpreters for American military personnel.

Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring Middle Eastern countries and Europe, and President Obama's administration has pledged to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next 12 months. The U.S. State Department said the refugees would be spread across the country.

In Governor Haley's letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, sent late Monday afternoon, Haley says she has concerns with the vetting process of refugees from conflict-zones, and specifically cites refugees exiting Syria.

She stated that she reviewed recent public statements, spoke with intelligence officials, and says it's her understanding that while national security agencies are working tirelessly on the vetting process of potential refugees, there allegedly remains gaps in intelligence on those fleeing Syria.

Read the Governor's full letter to the State Department here: http://shout.lt/bjrGH

The Governor acknowledged that refugees are forced to flee their home counties over religious persecution, civil wars, and unimaginable circumstances like those being faced in the middle east.

"As Governor, it is my first and primary duty to ensure the safety of the citizens of South Carolina. We are a state that has proudly welcomed refugees from around the world as part of the United States Refugee Resettlement Program...While I agree that the United States should try to assist individuals in such dire situations, it is precisely because of the situation in Syria that makes their admission into the United States a potential threat to our national security."

"For that reason, I ask that you honor my request and not resettle any Syrian refugees in South Carolina."

In response to the calls from governors to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to their states, Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigration, said under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.

Contributing: AP

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