In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, global anxiety is high. The massacre has left many afraid to help with the current refugee crisis because of fear of letting a terrorist into their country and with good reason. A fake Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the Paris attackers, whose fingerprints matched someone who passed through Greece and the Balkans in early October during the refugee crisis. All the attackers identified so far are European nationals.

The Obama administration has said it still plans to accept Syrian refugees. Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year.

A spokesperson for the State Department has said that refugees are intensely vetted. They go through the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States. It’s an interagency or multiagency screening process. It involves the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Syrian refugees go through additional forms of security screenings.

Even with this reassurance, more than half of the United States governors — 27 states — say they oppose letting Syrian refugees into their states, although the final say on this contentious immigration issue will fall to the federal government. States protesting the admission of refugees include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Authority over admitting refugees to the country rests with the federal government — not with the states — though individual states can make the acceptance process much more difficult. Many of the opposing states have asked that the federal government and Congress conduct a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks before allowing any more refugees into the country. The fear of allowing a terrorist into their states and possibly putting US citizens in danger seems too big of a risk.

 

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