Governor John Hickenlooper announced that Colorado will take in Syrian refugees while many states have decided to block refugees with fears that accepting them might threaten national security.
On Monday, 24 state governors asked the White House to block Syrian refugees from the United States in the wake of the terrorist attack in Paris Nov. 13.
“A few short days ago we witnessed another senseless act of terrorism,” Hickenlooper wrote in a statement issued Monday. “Our hearts go out to the families, friends and loved ones of those lost and injured in Paris, and in other acts of terror around the world.”
Hickenlooper said that the first priority is the safety of the residents, and that he is planning to work with the federal government to ensure that safety.
“We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible,” Hickenlooper wrote. “We can protect our security and provide a place where the world’s most vulnerable can rebuild their lives.”
Senate President Bill Cadman, a Republican, issued a statement in response to Hickenlooper’s encouragement for Colorado to host refugees: “Providing a secure home to the world’s most vulnerable cannot be assured if that very home is made vulnerable through security risks. Opening our hearts should not require us to close our eyes to the real dangers that international terrorists pose.”
Cadman’s press release suggested that Obama and Hickenlooper should provide the public with a detailed relocation plan with assurances that the government is not jeopardizing public safety.
“According to the concerned Coloradans who have called my office, these assurances are absent. … If there is any single mission universally recognized to be a prime role of government it is public safety,” Cadman’s statement added. “This responsibility is first and foremost in the minds of those of us who want to ensure that all due measures are exercised when considering relocation of any Syrian refugees within our state.”
The White House estimated that 10,000 Syrian refugees will resettle in the United States by 2017.
President Barack Obama said the United States will continue to accept Syrian refugees, even though one of the participants in the Paris attacks may have come with the Syrian refugees.
“Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values,” Obama said. “Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can do both.”
The states whose governors said they will block Syrian refugees are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.
New Hampshire’s governor Maggie Hassan is the only Democrat on the list.
Collegian Breaking News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sadyswan.