Breaking with other governors who have warned that admitting Syrian refugees would undermine American security, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday advocated preserving “America’s traditional role as a place of asylum” but stressed the need for thorough vetting.
Several U.S. governors have reacted to Friday’s deadly terror attacks in Paris by assailing President Barack Obama’s plan to have the U.S. absorb 10,000 Syrian war refugees over the course of the next year.
Some said they wanted to bar Syrians from settling in their states. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wrote in a letter to Obama that 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.”
“Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity,” wrote Abbott, a Republican. “As such, opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
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Countering that hard line, Brown said in a statement that the United States should continue to be a haven to the oppressed. But he also stressed the need for vigilance.
“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,” Brown said in response to a query from the Bee. “You can be sure that we will do everything in our power to protect the people of our state.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, took a similar stance to Brown on Monday, saying during a television interview that “California will not be one of those states” that turns away refugees.