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Prez to US States: take Syrian refugees, or penalties to follow
As reported by the The Hill this week, the Obama Administration has warned states they may not turn away Syrian refugees vetted by the federal government--and that states could face penalties should they not follow federal policy.
The article cited a letter from The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) dated November 25th. The letter says in part:
“Accordingly, states may not categorically deny ORR-funded benefits and services to Syrian refugees. Any state with such a policy would not be in compliance with the State Plan requirements, applicable statutes, and their own assurances, and could be subject to enforcement action, including suspension and termination.”
The letter also says that all refugees are screened with a multi-agency approach that includes law enforcement, national security, and intelligence departments, and adds that "Syrian refugees are subject to even more precautions than other refugees."
Republicans on Capitol Hill remain skeptical. As reported in The Hill, Representative Bob Goodlatte responded in a letter that:
“While the United States has the most generous refugee system in the world, the American people are rightly concerned about admitting Syrian refugees and the impact it would have on the safety of their families and neighbors. It’s hypocritical for Obama Administration officials to threaten enforcement action against these states when they refuse to enforce the vast majority of our immigration laws, such as cracking down on sanctuary cities that openly defy federal law and endanger the American people."
The President has said he wants to admit 10,000 new Syrian refugees.
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