In symbolic gesture, 26 governors want to refuse Syrian refugees

Twenty-five Republican governors and one Democrat have made it known that they do not wish to resettle Syrian refugees in their states. 

But their objections are only symbolic.  There is universal agreement by legal experts that the governors have no say in where the federal government will resettle refugees, although the State Department is making conciliatory noises about working with governors to abide by their wishes.

The problem is, once the refugees are legally resettled, they can go anywhere they wish, just like any other legal resident.  No doubt, the refugees will go where there are strong ethnic communities like Dearborn, Mich. for Arabs and Minneapolis for Somalis.  But that's not guaranteed.

President Obama is insisting that whether ISIS tries to hide terrorists among the refugees doesn't matter.  We're going to get 75,000 refugees stuffed down our throats whether we want them or not.  This has led to the chorus of objections from governors.

Daily Mail:

However, Republican governors from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin said they would postpone programs to bring in Syrian refugees, or they're against the idea entirely, according to the Associated Press

Additionally, CNN reported that Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee are also on the list.

Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina were added by USA Today. 

Presidential candidate Chris Christie, indicating that New Jersey also isn't on board, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez also said she opposed the administration's plan.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan was the first Democrat to express support for stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into her state.  

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said he wasn't sure if the governors had a legal right to prevent the flow of Syrian refugees into their states because 'this is a federal program,' though USA Today listed his state in the 'nay' column

Several Democratic governors voiced support for the refugees and echoed Obama's words.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said his state 'will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice'.

Democratic Govs. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut also said their states will have open doors.

Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican of Pennsylvania, wrote Wolf a letter asking him to change his mind.

'I write to urge you in the strongest terms possible to reconsider your plans to accept the so-called 'refugees' fleeing Syria and welcome them to Pennsylvania,' Barletta wrote, noting his position on the House Committee on Homeland Security and suggesting it best wait to accept refugees until a security apparatus is in place. 

Several GOP presidential candidates have voiced strong opinions on the issue too, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who suggested the United States simply help the Christians. 

'There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror,' Cruz said yesterday at a campaign stop in South Carolina, as he called for Muslim refugees to be barred from entering the United States, according to the Washington Post

We should have no problem welcoming refugees of any religion – as long as they are properly vetted.  Why can't we vet the refugees the same way we vet anyone who wants to come to the U.S. legally?  This is hardly a radical idea. 

But that would mean the numbers of refugees the president wants to bring here would be substantially reduced.  Of course, that's the idea behind vetting; you allow in only those refugees who are not criminals or terrorists.  This is apparently too restrictive for Democrats, who want to feed their self-image of being kind, tolerant, and broad-minded by accepting tens of thousands of refugees without so much as a by-your-leave.

And if some refugees shoot up New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles – well, at least the ones pushing this resettlement idea will be safe.  The rest of us?  Not so much.

How many refugees will be resettled in Scarsdale, or Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary lives?  How many in Hyde Park – the Chicago neighborhood where President Obama maintains a home?  How many in Beverly Hills?  In Palm Springs?  In Grosse Point Park?

Those are some of the richest communities in America, and if one refugee is resettled in any of those towns, I will be shocked.

This is a no-brainer issue for the GOP to beat up the Democrats with, as editor Lifson pointed out yesterday.  It's not just the national security angle that could be a point of attack; it's also a question of fairness and of being cognizant of the will of the people.

In all those areas, the president, Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats fail the test of leadership.

Twenty-five Republican governors and one Democrat have made it known that they do not wish to resettle Syrian refugees in their states. 

But their objections are only symbolic.  There is universal agreement by legal experts that the governors have no say in where the federal government will resettle refugees, although the State Department is making conciliatory noises about working with governors to abide by their wishes.

The problem is, once the refugees are legally resettled, they can go anywhere they wish, just like any other legal resident.  No doubt, the refugees will go where there are strong ethnic communities like Dearborn, Mich. for Arabs and Minneapolis for Somalis.  But that's not guaranteed.

President Obama is insisting that whether ISIS tries to hide terrorists among the refugees doesn't matter.  We're going to get 75,000 refugees stuffed down our throats whether we want them or not.  This has led to the chorus of objections from governors.

Daily Mail:

However, Republican governors from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Texas and Wisconsin said they would postpone programs to bring in Syrian refugees, or they're against the idea entirely, according to the Associated Press

Additionally, CNN reported that Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee are also on the list.

Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina were added by USA Today. 

Presidential candidate Chris Christie, indicating that New Jersey also isn't on board, and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez also said she opposed the administration's plan.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan was the first Democrat to express support for stopping the flow of Syrian refugees into her state.  

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said he wasn't sure if the governors had a legal right to prevent the flow of Syrian refugees into their states because 'this is a federal program,' though USA Today listed his state in the 'nay' column

Several Democratic governors voiced support for the refugees and echoed Obama's words.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said his state 'will continue to be a state that welcomes those seeking refuge from persecution, regardless of where they come from or the religion they practice'.

Democratic Govs. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania and Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut also said their states will have open doors.

Rep. Lou Barletta, a Republican of Pennsylvania, wrote Wolf a letter asking him to change his mind.

'I write to urge you in the strongest terms possible to reconsider your plans to accept the so-called 'refugees' fleeing Syria and welcome them to Pennsylvania,' Barletta wrote, noting his position on the House Committee on Homeland Security and suggesting it best wait to accept refugees until a security apparatus is in place. 

Several GOP presidential candidates have voiced strong opinions on the issue too, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who suggested the United States simply help the Christians. 

'There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror,' Cruz said yesterday at a campaign stop in South Carolina, as he called for Muslim refugees to be barred from entering the United States, according to the Washington Post

We should have no problem welcoming refugees of any religion – as long as they are properly vetted.  Why can't we vet the refugees the same way we vet anyone who wants to come to the U.S. legally?  This is hardly a radical idea. 

But that would mean the numbers of refugees the president wants to bring here would be substantially reduced.  Of course, that's the idea behind vetting; you allow in only those refugees who are not criminals or terrorists.  This is apparently too restrictive for Democrats, who want to feed their self-image of being kind, tolerant, and broad-minded by accepting tens of thousands of refugees without so much as a by-your-leave.

And if some refugees shoot up New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles – well, at least the ones pushing this resettlement idea will be safe.  The rest of us?  Not so much.

How many refugees will be resettled in Scarsdale, or Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary lives?  How many in Hyde Park – the Chicago neighborhood where President Obama maintains a home?  How many in Beverly Hills?  In Palm Springs?  In Grosse Point Park?

Those are some of the richest communities in America, and if one refugee is resettled in any of those towns, I will be shocked.

This is a no-brainer issue for the GOP to beat up the Democrats with, as editor Lifson pointed out yesterday.  It's not just the national security angle that could be a point of attack; it's also a question of fairness and of being cognizant of the will of the people.

In all those areas, the president, Hillary Clinton, and the Democrats fail the test of leadership.