GOP Legislators to Wolf: 'No refugees in Pennsylvania'
After Governor Tom Wolf announced this week that Pennsylvania would keep its door open to Syrian refugees, several state legislators raised concerns about security fears in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks and asked the governor to reconsider his position.
Wolf’s commitment comes after President Obama announced he plans to relocate 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. over the next year.
Several Republican Pennsylvania Congresspeople sent a letter to Gov. Wolf urging him to stop accepting Syrian refugees, among them were Reps. Patrick Meehan, Tom Marino, Tim Murphy, Michael Fitzpatrick, Mike Kelly, Ryan Costello, Joe Pitts, Keith Rothfus, G.T. Thompson, and Bill Shuster.
"Given the shocking and depraved nature of the terrorist attacks in Paris, we request that you join the leadership of governors in 27 states and indefinitely suspend efforts to bring Syrian refugees to Pennsylvania until there are verifiable and robust mechanisms in place to properly screen all participants for potential security risks," the legislators wrote to Wolf.
Republican Rep. Lou Barletta sent a separate letter to the governor expressing similar concerns. “I write to urge you in the strongest terms possible to reconsider your plans to accept the so-called ‘refugees’ fleeing Syria and welcome them to Pennsylvania,” Barletta wrote. “I implore you to suspend cooperation until a dependable system is in place to check the background of those seeking refugee status.”
As reported in Philly.com, Pennsylvania has received about 161 Syrian refugees since the country’s civil war began in early 2011, most in the past year, according to State Department data.
Nationally other governors, most of them Republican, have refused to accept Syrian refugees in their states including the governor of Illinois, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Iowa, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and Arkansas.
On Wednesday President Obama criticized the GOP rhetoric “for suggesting that Syrian refugees coming to the United States posed a security threat,” CNN reported.
"Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America," Obama said. "At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of 3-year-old orphans. That doesn't seem so tough to me."