Governor Brown: Accept Refugees but Carefully Vet Them


Nov 17, 2015 (SACRAMENTO) “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.” Governor Jerry Brown said overnight. This is in the face of a growing trend, mostly by Republican governors, to refuse entry to their states, while their democratic counterparts are promising admision, but with vetting.

President Barack Obama intends to have a conference call to allay the fears of these governors, and the threat that some believe these refugees pose.

Governor Greg Abbot of Texas was one of the first to say no, in a press releases that partly reads:

“Given the tragic attacks in Paris and the threats we have already seen, Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas,” Governor Abbott said in the letter. “Effective today, I am directing the Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s Refugee Resettlement Program to not participate in the resettlement of any Syrian refugees in the State of Texas. And I urge you, as President, to halt your plans to allow Syrians to be resettled anywhere in the United States.”

“Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity,” Governor Abbott continued. “As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”

The United States is committed to accepting 10,000 refugees that stem from the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War Two. But what is giving pause to many Republican governors, apart of politics, is that one of the bombers in Paris might have come to Europe using a Syrian passport.

There is an important point to make here. American governors do not have the right to make decisions on migration. In Arizona Et Al v United States in 2012 the Supreme Court once again said that migratory policy is a federal matter. This decision partially reads:

This authority rests, in part, on the National Government’s constitutional power to “establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8, cl. 4, and its inherent power as sovereign to control and conduct relations with foreign nations,

So apart of the politics involved, there is little ground for Governors to refuse. That said, it is the job of the Federal government to vet every immigrants, not just refugees. Moreover, there are treaty obligations we have incurred regarding refugees.


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