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November 18, 2015

Some governors want to refuse Syrian refugees

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In the wake of Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, more than half of governors in the United States, mostly Republicans, say they oppose a plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country by next fall.

The governors point to security concerns related to Islamic State (ISIS) militants infiltrating refugee ranks as reason for not wanting their states to participate.

Several lawmakers and Republican presidential candidates have also expressed concern over the U.S. accepting Syrian refugees.

Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich had initially supported refugees coming to his state but has since changed his mind. “Once we have a rational program and we can determine who it is that’s coming, then it’s another story,” Kasich said.

Donald Trump, Republican Presidential Candidate, favors building a “safe zone” in Syria to deal with the refugee crisis and allow Syrians to live safely in their own country.

In the past four years, 2,500 Syrians have entered the U.S., a small fraction of the hundreds of thousands that have left Syria since its civil war began in 2011.

Despite assurances from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the U.S. has a “significant and robust” vetting process, the governors and candidates say they do not trust the vetting process.

Although the governors do not have the power to prevent the federal government from sending refugees to their states, Republicans in Congress said they will begin drafting legislation in an attempt to block resettlement.

In a blog post Tuesday, the White House said it will continue improve the screening process of Syrian refugees.


Vocab

refugee — a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster

resettlement — the process of moving people to a different place to live, because they are no longer able to stay in the area where they used to live

Warm up questions
  1. What is a refugee?
  2. Why are so many Syrians fleeing their country?
  3. What happened in Paris last Friday that has renewed concern over ISIS?
Critical thinking questions
  1. Why have the attacks in Paris raised concerns among governors and Republican candidates about Syrian refugees?
  2. What sort of screening processes should be in place to ensure that refugees coming into the U.S. are not people that wish to do harm?
  3. Should the U.S. accept Syrian refugees after they have gone through a screening process? Why or why not?
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