John Bel Edwards, Jindal ask Obama to pause Syrian refugee relocation in La.
BATON ROUGE - A day following deadly attacks in Paris, Governor Bobby Jindal sent a letter to President Barack Obama demanding information regarding Syrian refugees that are being resettled in Louisiana.
Jindal's letter demands information from Obama regarding background screening and monitoring for Syrian refugees being relocated to Louisiana.
Jindal said that state officials have been left in the dark and have not received information about those seeking refuge in Louisiana.
The letter also requests that the President pause the relocation of Syrian refugees until more information is known about the terrorist attackers in Paris.
"Dear President Obama,
In the wake of another round of appalling terrorist attacks, I write to express great sadness at the events in Paris, as well as my grave concern about the unreported diffusion of Syrian refugees in the United States.
Last week, the city of New Orleans began receiving its first wave of Syrian refugees. As with former immigration crises and federal relocation policy, Louisiana has been kept in the dark about those seeking refuge in the state. It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement.
As Governor of Louisiana, I demand information about the Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana in hopes that the night of horror in Paris is not duplicated here. In the wake of these atrocities, I also ask for details on the below:
1) What level of background screening was conducted prior to entry in the United States?
2) In light of the fact that some of those responsible for last night’s attacks held Syrian passports, what additional protections and screenings will be put in place?
3) Will all Syrian refugees seeking relocation in the United States now be cleared by the Terrorist Screening Center?
4) What degree of monitoring will be sustained after initial placement in Louisiana?
As Americans, we embolden freedom and opportunity to the rest of the world, but by opening up our borders and refusing to collaborate or share information with states, you are threatening that reality.
Mr. President, in light of these attacks on Paris and reports that one of the attackers was a refugee from Syria, it would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States. Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States.
Governor Bobby Jindal"
Democratic candidate for governor, John Bel Edwards also released a statement Saturday afternoon in response to Jindal's letter. Edwards echoed Jindal's demand, saying that Obama has an obligation to Louisiana to release the information about the resettled refugees. Below is Edward's statement:
"In light of the recent tragedy in Paris, it’s imperative for us to pause the influx of refugees flowing into our state without more information on the security measures in place. Gov. Jindal has requested additional information from the President on how the federal government is handling the refugees being sent to Louisiana, and I think the President has an obligation to provide answers before we move any further."
At least 129 people were killed and 352 injured in the attacks Friday night in Paris. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility.
Asylum-seekers fleeing war and poverty in Syria and other war-ravaged countries are condemning the Paris attacks, fearing it may become even more difficult now to start new lives in Western Europe.
The migrants streaming through Slovenia toward Austria, Germany and other wealthy EU nations said Saturday the attacks in Paris that killed at least 129 people resemble the wars they are running away from.
Zebar Akram, 29, from Iraq, says "this is the same act of terrorism like they act in Syria or Iraq." Abdul Selam, 31, from Syria fears that refugees now "will be considered probable attackers."
In September, The White House said President Barack Obama told advisers he wants to let 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. in the coming budget year.
By admitting additional 10,000 Syrian refugees, the United States will boost its worldwide quota for resettling refugees from 70,000 to 80,000 next year. A fraction of those refugees would be from Syria.
Two months ago, the U.S. had accepted only about 1,500 Syrians since civil war broke out four years ago.