Even though roughly two dozen state governors have declared their states won’t accept any Syrian refugees, legal scholars are saying it is only the federal government that can stop this program and that state governors can’t close their borders – putting pressure on Congress to take the initiative to block more refugees from entering the country.
CNN is reporting that due to the 1980 Refugee Act, the final decision lies with the federal government.
“When push comes to shove, the federal government has both the plenary power and the power of the 1980 Refugee Act to place refugees anywhere in the country,” director of migration policy at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Kevin Appleby told CNN. It is one of the largest organizations aiding refugee resettlement in the United States.
According to Appleby, states are able to cut their own funding for the refugee programs.
American University law professor Stephen I. Vladeck also spoke to CNN about the issue, saying, “Legally, states have no authority to do anything because the question of who should be allowed in this country is one that the Constitution commits to the federal government.”
“But Vladeck notes that without a state’s participation the federal government would have a much more difficult time,” reported CNN. Vladeck added, “So a state can’t say it is legally objecting, but it can refuse to cooperate, which makes thing much more difficult.”
In the case of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott pointed out that it’s his understanding the states do not have the authority to prevent the federal government from funding the relocation of Syrian refugees, so it’s up to Congress to block Obama’s effort.
Therefore, we are asking the United States Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration rom Using any federal ta dollar to fund the relocation of up to 425 Syrian refugees…to Florida, or anywhere in the United States, without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security.
GOP presidential candidates and U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are offering legislation to bar the acceptance of any more Syrian refugees in the United States. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) also offered legislation in the House.
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan – after public pressure from GOP presidential candidates Gov. Mike Huckabee and Dr. Ben Carson – said he wanted to “pause” Obama’s Syrian refugee resettlement plan, as it is better to be safe than sorry.
According to Fox News, the Office of the President is holding a conference call with me than 30 U.S. state governors tonight to address the Syrian refugee issue.