White House officials are scheduled to hold a conference call with governors on Tuesday night about Syrian refugees, as more than half of the country’s governors have said they will not welcome resettlement of Syrians in their states.
The call is in response to state leaders’ complaints that they do not have enough information on the vetting process of people being admitted into the country as refugees from the war in Syria, Gov. Pat McCrory told CNN today.
“We got a message from the White House for a conference call later on this evening with governors to finally communicate with us and respect our concerns and respect the people of the United States' concerns,” McCrory said. “That's good news as opposed to being lectured to yesterday by the president.”
Governors do not have the authority to stop the federal government from granting people entry into the country as refugees. But by Tuesday afternoon, McCrory was one of 30 governors – almost all Republicans – who said they want to close the door on future Syrian refugees. Other governors have said they will not interfere with resettlement in their state.
The country has accepted fewer than 2,000 of the millions who have fled Syria since the beginning of the war in 2011. President Obama would like the United States to admit 10,000 refugees over the next year, he said in September. McCrory says 59 Syrian refugees have resettled in North Carolina.
“They did not come through the state of North Carolina or any Checkpoint Charlie like they used to have near the Berlin Wall,” McCrory said on CNN. “They directly report to nonprofit agencies, so we have to get the information for the nonprofit agencies that the federal government and immigration refer them to.”
On Monday, McCrory was one of the first governors to speak out against the resettlement process. By Tuesday, his political campaign posted a message to supporters, asking for support.
“We must think first of our own security and do what’s right to protect North Carolina families,” McCrory said. “Add your name if you stand with Governor McCrory!”
Non-profit organizations that help in resettlement, including Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said that blocking the entry Syrian refugees would result in stopping passage of people whose lives are at risk.
“To conflate refugees with terrorists doesn’t make us safer,” North Carolina Congressman David Price said in a statement. “It merely perpetuates an environment of suspicion and anxiety and risks lending more credibility to terrorist propaganda and recruitment efforts.”