BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Governor Hogan tells the federal government he doesn’t want the state to take any refugees from Syria. His decision comes amid a major debate over whether the refugees could put the country at risk.
Derek Valcourt with both sides of the debate.
One side says helping the refugees is the humane thing to do. The other side says it’s better to be safe than sorry.
The White House goal of resettling at least 10,000 Syrian refugees has earned tough opposition in the wake of the Paris attacks.
Governor Larry Hogan joins governors in more than 25 other states, saying after careful consideration, he’s now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.
“As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority. Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.”
His argument is finding support among fellow Republicans.
“Given our proximity to Washington, D.C., which is an obvious terrorist target, it’s the right thing to do,” said Rep. Andy Harris, (R) Maryland.
“We don’t have the ability to figure out who is here to do us harm and who isn’t,” he continued. “If this administration doesn’t set up that capability, then we should never take immigrants from areas of the world where people have vowed to do us harm. And this is one of those areas of the world.”
But critics are blasting Governor Hogan, saying his Syrian immigrant refusal is un-American.
The ACLU calls it immoral and blatantly illegal–a decision that goes against our common humanity.
Corey Saylor is with the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
“This just goes back to the whole, well we’re afraid of all Italians because they might be Mafia. We have to be afraid of all the Japanese because they might be loyal to the emperor. The Catholics may be loyal to the pope. We’ve overcome it again and again and again, and we’re better as a nation for it,” said Saylor.
The Maryland Democratic Party released a statement, calling Governor Hogan’s decision “reactionary fear-mongering.”
Intelligence officials say full and proper background checks on each of the Syrian refugees would take anywhere from a year to a year and a half.