On Monday, California Gov. Jerry Brown stated California would help accept Syrian refugees, and argued that they would be “fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way.”
Brown told the Desert Sun, “I intend to work closely with the President so that he can both uphold America’s traditional role as a place of asylum, but also ensure that anyone seeking refuge in America is fully vetted in a sophisticated and utterly reliable way. You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to protect the people of our state.”
In September, the Obama administration stated it would accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next 12 months.
Brown’s willingness to accept Syrian refugees is an about-face from his attitude in the 1970s towards Vietnamese refugees. At the time, Brown allegedly complained that the federal government wanted to “dump Vietnamese” on California.
Prominent Californians have voiced widely disparate views on the Syrian refugees. KCRA reported that Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-California, said, “Come winter, to see children freezing in the snow, I don’t think that’s what the western world wants either. So, I would hope that governors would be very slow to make these statements.”
Kirt Lewis of World Relief Sacramento said, “Since 9/11, over 750,000 (refugees have been relocated). None of them have ever been indicted for domestic terrorism. I think that’s a pretty amazing track record and it shows to the thoroughness of the vetting process.”
But Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones said he also has concerns, according to KCRA: “I like the fact of getting political refugees. I have no confidence that the ones we’re getting from Syria and other places have been appropriately and fully vetted, and that puts people at risk.”
Although states do not possess the legal authority to reject refugees, at least 27 governors have opposed letting Syrian refugees into their states.
According to California’s Refugee Processing Center, 218 Syrian refugees have arrived in California this year, ABC 10 San Diego reports.
The Desert Sun reported that the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, estimates that since 2012, 17,664 refugees have emigrated to California, largely from Iraq and Iran.