Updated: Delmarva Governors Weigh in on Syrian Refugees - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Delmarva Governors Weigh in on Syrian Refugees

Posted: Updated:
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo: CBS) Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (Photo: CBS)

DOVER, Del.. (WBOC/AP) - Delmarva's governors have weighed in on taking Syrian refugees into their respective states.

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is saying no to Syrian refugees. Tuesday afternoon he joined a long list of governors, almost all Republican, asking the federal government not to settle refugees in his state until the feds to provide, "appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety."

"As governor of Maryland, the safety and security of Marylanders remains my first priority," Hogan said in a statement.

The state's Democrats criticized Hogan and called his decision, "reactionary fear-mongering."

The ACLU of Maryland quickly criticized Hogan's decision.
    
"Calls to bar Syrian refugees from American soil, in addition to being immoral, are also blatantly illegal," the ACLU said in a statement. "Refugee resettlement is a federal matter over which states have no authority."

According to the US State Department, this year 31 Syrian refugees have come to Maryland.

Significant concern over resettled refugees started after the terrorist attack in Paris Friday. At least one of the suspects entered France in the current wave of refugees.

As Hogan moved to block their entry to Maryland, Delaware Republicans called on the First State's governor to do the same.

Before the Paris attack, Gov. Jack Markell had said Delaware would be open to accepting refugees. He went on CNN Tuesday to reinforce that position.

Talking with Wolf Blitzer, the Democrat questioned some of the rhetoric surrounding refugees right now.

"For some of these presidential candidates to say, for example, we should only let in Christians - Are we going to rewrite what's on the Statue of Liberty? Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses so long as they're Christian. Is that really who we are?" he said.

The governor says security is paramount but refugees are heavily vetted though some republicans in congress have said expressed concerns about the government's ability to do that vetting.

Monday Delaware Republicans sent Markell a letter urging him to close the state's borders to refugees. Tuesday WBOC spoke with the party's executive director, John Fluharty.

"Wouldn't we rather know about the needle in the haystack before the haystack is delivered to the farm than after?" said Fluharty.

There were split opinions on the issue among people WBOC interviewed around Dover. Some said Delaware shouldn't let the refugees in.

"I don't think so. We have enough problems we have to worry about here in our country," said Wendy Brown. "It's frightening. You don't know whether you can go - I'm here in front of the post office. Something could be happening while I'm standing right here. You never know."

Others believe refugees should be able to come to Delaware.

"They should be able to as long as they go by the rules," June Baker said. "There are so many people that you can't judge all the people."

Gov. Markell says Delaware has had three families settle in the state via others in the past year or so.

Virginia will also remain open to Syrian refugees. That word came Monday from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. According to his office, there will be intensive security measures in place to ensure the safety of all Virginians.

It's important to note in all this that there are lots of questions swirling nationwide over whether governors even have the legal authority to block refugees from coming into their states.

Tuesday the White House held an extensive phone call question and answer session with 34 governors to address existing refugee policies and security measures.

The U.S. has admitted about 2,500 Syrians since the civil war broke out in the country in the spring of 2011. The Obama administration wants to admit about 10,000 more this year.
    
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a congressional panel Tuesday that the United States has a robust screening process in place for those considered for immigration to the United States, a process she said Europe has not been able to set up.

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