Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-WFP) says he will accept Syrian refugees because Americans have “an obligation” to do so.
Malloy’s statement comes as 29 governors—including Democrat Gov. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire—have urged President Obama to halt the Syrian refugee program due to concerns about security, particularly after the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday.
The Connecticut governor’s office apparently has questioned whether states have the power to refuse refugees in the federal resettlement program, reports WTNH.
In addition, one local refugee-settlement contractor, Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS), is actually asking for 250 more refugees—an increase of 50 percent above current plans—to be resettled in Connecticut’s New Haven city. “No one has come through refugee-resettlement program and been vetted by Department of Homeland Security that has ever conducted [a] terrorist act,” said Chris George, IRIS executive director.
IRIS asserts each potential refugee is subject to extensive and thorough background checks that can take several years, and that any questionable issue disqualifies the candidate. “We do run the risk of doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do,” George said. “And that is overreacting.”
As Breitbart News noted in July, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp happily welcomes and offers protections to illegal immigrants in her sanctuary city.
“New Haven will continue to welcome new residents from other countries and embrace their positive contributions in our community, all in the spirit of ‘E pluribus unum,’” Harp said. “The city’s ongoing ‘sanctuary’ status reflects a widespread acceptance of diversity in New Haven and respects the distinct jurisdictions administered by the federal and local governments.”
Connecticut citizens, however, are questioning Malloy’s decision to accept the refugees. The governor’s approval rating has sharply declined—in only the first year of his second term—to 32 percent, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. The survey revealed that despite all of Malloy’s social justice efforts and his spending taxpayer money, the governor is being rebuked for raising taxes and mismanaging the state’s budget.
“I wouldn’t wanna be the Governor right now, but I think we need to err on the side of caution,” said Charlotte Smith of Bridgeport about Malloy’s decision to accept the refugees. “We need to think, think about that.”
In September, when the Obama administration announced it would accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees, Malloy’s spokesman Devon Puglia said the governor’s office would “celebrate” the chance to help, the Hartford Courant reported.
“If the federal government and the President come up with a plan to take in these refugees, we would… welcome them in our state, in order to do our part to help ameliorate the crisis — it’s part of Connecticut’s values,” Puglia said.
Similarly, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) demanded that the United States do more, even urging the acceptance of at least 50,000 refugees. “The United States has always been a refuge for those fleeing persecution, war, and misery, and we cannot continue to sit on the sidelines of a humanitarian crisis on such a massive scale,” Murphy said.
Additionally, in October, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a plan that he said will help speed up the processing of the Syrian refugees. His proposal, according to the Courant, is a four-point plan that would supposedly limit delays and duplicative screenings, as well as other hurdles, for the refugees seeking to enter the United States.
Nevertheless, former New Orleans FBI chief and anti-terrorism expert, Jim Bernazzani, was interviewed by Fox affiliate WVUE on whether terrorists coming into the country with the Syrian refugees are a legitimate concern.
“If I was in charge of ISIL, logistically I’d take advantage of this situation and put my people in, into the United States,” Bernazzani said. “Now with that said, the FBI is on top of this big-time with our Joint Terrorism Task Force and we have what’s called a Terrorist Screening Center that these individuals will be run through.”
He added, however, that not every refugee entering the United States would face the same level of scrutiny. “It’s going to be the 18- to 45-year-old male for the most part,” he said. “It’s a percentage game… it’s a percentage game.”