Publisher's note: The author of this post is Rick Henderson, who is managing editor for the Carolina Journal, John Hood Publisher.
Governor says feds won't share vetting information on Syrians with state officials
CHARLOTTE Citing Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, and saying his "primary duty as governor is to protect the citizens of North Carolina,"
Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday issued a formal request to President Obama, asking the federal government to end the relocation of refugees from Syria to the United States until McCrory and public safety officials can be assured that the refugees have been vetted sufficiently to ensure they pose no security threats to U.S. residents or institutions.
McCrory announced his request at a press conference in Charlotte, saying, "we believe there are vulnerabilities"
for potential terrorist activities, as the Islamic State has said publicly it planned to disguise some of its operatives as refugees so that they can enter Western nations largely undetected. At least eight other governors
have made a similar request to the Obama administration.
Carolina Journal reported earlier
that, based on records provided from the governor's office Friday and Monday, the state had accepted 59 Syrian refugees between Jan. 1, 2014, and Oct. 31, 2015.
The governor said he made the request because the State Department has provided little information about refugees to public safety officials once the refugees settle in the United States. When the federal government clears refugees to enter the country, they are then placed with nonprofit organizations such as Catholic Charities that relocate the refugees in communities across the country and coordinate public services, including health care and English instruction.
Washington is not sharing the vetting information with state officials, McCrory said, and until we "learn who [the refugees] are, what their backgrounds are, and where they have been relocated,"
he is not comfortable allowing them into the state. "We would trust [the federal government] more if they're telling us what they're doing,"
the governor said.
McCrory compared the lack of information he has received from the Obama administration to the communications lapses he had last year with Washington when more than 1,200 unaccompanied illegal immigrant minors
were relocated into North Carolina.
The governor praised the nonprofit organizations for accepting the responsibility of relocating the refugees, and said state officials "want to continue working with the nonprofits and show empathy" for those who have been uprooted from their homes.
He added that the main interaction the state has with the nonprofit groups is to receive bills for public services. Those bills are forwarded to the federal government and are the responsibility of federal taxpayers.