More than half of the 50 U.S. states have withdrawn a welcome to Syrian refugees after the attacks on Paris left at least 129 dead and more than 300 wounded.
ISIS took credit for the coordinated attacks, and at least one suspect is confirmed to have entered France posing as a Syrian refugee. Governors have responded to this detail by refusing an open door in their states to the 10,000 Syrian refugees President Barack Obama has promised a U.S. home.
Alvaro Santamaria, a sophomore international business major, said his hometown of Almeria, Spain has invited many refugees in response to world crises.
“If I was in Spain, I would never let them in. It’s not because of their religion,” he said. “You can’t trust them at all. I would not let them in. But the point is how do you recognize the people that are bad or not?”
As of publication, 31 states refused to accept Syrian refugees into America. Of those 31, only one state-New Hampshire-was headed by a democrat.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin became one of these 31 governors, suspending a welcome to Syrian refugees on the basis of security.
“The American people need to be assured that national security will not be compromised,” she said in a press release. “We must maintain a strict verification process against possible terrorists.”
In conjunction with three other congressional lawmakers, U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine called for the temporary suspension of the Office of Refugee Resettlement resettlement funding for all refugees Wednesday.
Likewise, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett announced Tuesday he was mailing a letter to President Obama, pressing for a reevaluation of the screening process.
“Our ‘heart of the country’ values to help our fellow man are never in question. Our humanitarian outreaches to all mankind are prevalent and well documented,” Bartlett said. “We are ready to be of service, but we must have a confident and verifiable answer to the question, ‘Are we safe regarding our national security at our borders, especially regarding the present and future inflow of non-U.S. citizens?’”
Obama’s responded to the governors by highlighting Syrian that refugees are being screened most stringently. Agencies such as the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State and the Department of Defense are using the most advanced biographic and biometric information to vet the incoming refugees.
Since 2012, 1,854 Syrian refugees have entered the U.S., compared to almost 93,000 entering Germany, according to the New York Times.
Any refugee coming into Oklahoma is processed at Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Catholic Charities said in a statement Monday Tulsa will not be a top destination for the Syrian refugees. According to Catholic Charities, three Syrian refugees were placed in Jenks since 2012.
“As a family reunification site, Catholic Charities Tulsa only resettles refugees who have family or close friends already residing in the Tulsa area,” the statement said. “Because of this, Tulsa is not likely to be impacted by the Syrian refugee crisis.”