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McCrory To Feds: Don't Resettle Syrian Refugees In North Carolina

Tom Bullock

Gov. Pat McCrory has made a request of the Obama administration: Stop sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina. But that may be a symbolic measure.

McCrory says 59 Syrian refugees have resettled in North Carolina since January of 2015. And that’s enough for now, McCrory says, citing reports that one of the Paris attackers may have been a recent refugee.

“I am now requesting that the President and the federal government cease sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina,” McCrory said Monday during a press conference at the Mecklenburg County Government Center.

It’s not just Syrians. McCrory wants more information on refugees from 33 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.

At least 23 governors from states like Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Indiana, Massachusetts and Michigan have made similar requests. All but one (New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan) is Republican.

Before being granted refugee status in the United States, foreigners must go through security checks by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security. These checks have been criticized by activist groups and some European governments for being too stringent and taking too much time.

Governor McCrory says the state has been given little information about those security checks, or the refugees themselves.

“To date, we’ve received almost little or no security information about those refugees, on their backgrounds or even possibly their names in certain circumstances.”

McCrory says he’d trust the federal government more if it provided more information to the states.

He praised the non-profits who help resettle those fleeing persecution and the actions of terrorists in their home countries, but said his first job is to protect North Carolinians from any possible threat.

Still this action is just a request, McCrory says. The federal government runs the refugee programs, and states don’t have the ability to close their borders. But, McCrory says “I expect the chief executive of our country to listen to the chief executives of our 50 states.”

We may already know the president’s answer. Speaking in Turkey earlier Monday, President Obama responded to those who say America should only let in non-Muslim refugees.

“That’s shameful, that’s not American, that’s not who we are,” he said.

McCrory says his administration is also looking for a plan B in case the president denies his request.