Governor McCrory Asking President Obama to Stop Sending Syrian Refugees to North Carolina
Governor Pat McCrory announced today that he is asking President Barack Obama to cease sending any refugees from Syria to North Carolina. The governor made the announcement at a news conference this afternoon in Charlotte. The request is being sent in a letter from the governor to the president.
“North Carolina has a proud tradition of providing a hand-up for those in need, including international refugees,” said Governor McCrory. “However, because President Obama has increased the number of refugees from Syria coming into the United States from 2,000 to 10,000 and because of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the very real possibility that one of the terrorists entered France as a recent refugee, I am requesting that the federal government cease sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina.”
Governor McCrory said North Carolina should not receive any additional refugees until he is satisfied with the thoroughness and effectiveness of federal background and security checks conducted on refugees entering the United States.
The governor cited the September findings of a congressional task force which stated that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies are concerned about terrorists posing as refugees.
Governor McCrory said he has directed the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Safety to coordinate with the appropriate federal agencies.
“My primary duty as governor is to protect the citizens of North Carolina, which is why I am taking the steps I have outlined today,” said Governor McCrory. Governor McCrory joins several other governors across the U.S. in taking action on Syrian refugees. Those states include Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi and Texas.
* Release from McCrory’s Office.
Statement from the NC Justice Center: Syrian refugees should find home in NC
Times of great human tragedy are a moral test for all of us. Currently, thousands of Syrians are fleeing terror and violence from their war-torn home country. They want what we all want: a safe place to rebuild their lives. A home where their children don’t have to fear the constant threat of violence.
A few of these families have received refuge in our state. Every North Carolinian should be proud of this: it stands in the American tradition of accepting the tired, poor, huddled masses who yearn for nothing more than to breathe free.
There are many reasons, practical and otherwise, to be disappointed in Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to oppose settling Syrian refugees in North Carolina. It ignores our constitutional system, where the federal government sets immigration and refugee policy. It also sends all the wrong signals — both to refugees here, and to people overseas who may perceive this move as hostility toward helping Muslims, even those in the most desperate of situations.
The savage acts of terror in Paris require a determined and vigorous international response. We grieve for the loss of innocent lives, and fight back our nation and the world must. But the enemy is not the Syrian refugee families and their children, struggling for a peaceful life. In fact, the terrorists caused these Syrian refugees to flee their homes in the first place. If we refuse to provide them a new, safe life and opportunity, we add only to their misery, do nothing to enhance our own security, and turn probable friends into possible future foes. We can fight terror without turning our back on our values and constitutional principles. If we turn our back on those values, the terrorists win in a different way.
When we think of how to handle tragedies like this one, we should imagine our own relatives in the position of the refugees. For many of us in this nation of immigrants, this is not especially hard: a few generations ago, it was our relatives in this position.
Like our relatives of a generation or two ago, today’s refugees just need shelter from the storm. They will find it in a place where they can settle, find work, prosper and contribute. Let this place be our nation. Let this place be our state.