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Eye On Boise

Idaho delegation calls for halt on Syrian refugee resettlement to Idaho

All four members of Idaho’s all-GOP congressional delegation are calling for "suspending bringing Syrian refugees to Idaho through the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program until better assurances of security can be obtained," according to a joint statement issued by the four. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Reps. Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador all said they back Gov. Butch Otter’s call to suspend the entire U.S. refugee resettlement program for a security check. Here are their comments:

CRAPO: “The attack on France demonstrates in stark horror the risks that not all who enter our country have peaceful intentions.  It has become evident at least one of the terrorists who carried out this plot entered the country under the guise of being a Syrian refugee. I support Gov. Otter’s call to suspend this program.  I have strong concerns about the effectiveness of how we vet those coming in.   And we must give our state and our local communities a strong voice in how they participate in the decisions being made about refugees in their community.  Of the more than 350 calls that have come into my office since this attack, all but two have opposed resettling Syrian refugees who have not been adequately vetted.  Idahoans deserve a voice in this decision.”

RISCH: “Having been recently briefed in a classified setting as to the methods and process used to vet potential refugees, I have serious reservations about the effectiveness and the guarantees currently in place with allows people into the United States from this region of the world. This government program is no different than other federal programs in which the government attempts to handle sizable undertakings, such as the response to Hurricane Katrina and the rollout of Obamacare. The safety of Americans is the first and most important responsibility of the government. The current process simply cannot guarantee our safety under these circumstances. Although the exact method by which the government vets these people is classified, I can tell you that after my review I lack confidence in the ability of the process to keep us safe. In addition, the individual states and communities should have a say in this process.”

SIMPSON: “I fully support Gov. Otter’s call to halt the refugee resettlement effort.  There are obviously serious concerns with the refugee screening process as it currently stands; and in light of recent attacks in Paris, we cannot move forward with accepting Syrian refugees. We have to focus our resources on protecting Americans and the homeland, and to do that we must first identify a path forward that will ensure verification that those entering our country will do no harm."

LABRADOR: “Last month, FBI Director James Comey admitted to me in a hearing that he couldn’t guarantee refugees coming to the United States would not include terrorists. I have since received no assurances from the Administration that the situation has improved. In the face of the malevolence of ISIS-directed attacks, it is only prudent to suspend resettlement until we establish reliable security protocols at home and abroad.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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