Governor Bobby Jindal protested the settlement of Syrian refugees in New Orleans in a letter to President Obama following the terrorist attack in Paris.
“It is irresponsible and severely disconcerting to place individuals, who may or may not have ties to ISIS, in a state without the state’s knowledge or involvement,” the Louisiana governor wrote Saturday. “I demand information about the Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana in the hopes that the horror in Paris is not duplicated here.”
Jindal’s letter echoed concerns expressed locally even before the Paris attack, while giving the Republican presidential hopeful an entry into the war of words over immigration that has played out this week between his rivals for the nomination.
Two people connected to the Paris attack “registered as refugees with Greek authorities earlier this year,” according to Agence France Presse. Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) used that revelation to tie the attack to the immigration bill that Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) wrote in collaboration with Senator Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and six other colleagues in 2013.
“I introduced a bill, or an amendment, to the immigration bill that would have provided for more scrutiny of people coming into our country: refugees, immigrants, students,” Paul said Saturday at a GOP cattle call in Florida. “Rubio and Schumer and all of the authors voted against any conservative amendments. And I think that was a mistake, not only for the bill, but also for our national security.”
#share#Refugee background checks have been a point of concern in some quarters of Capitol Hill for months, and those worries spread to Louisiana with the arrival of two refugee families in New Orleans. “If I was in charge of ISIL, logistically I’d take advantage of this situation and put my people in, into the United States,” said Jim Bernazzani, former head of the FBI’s New Orleans field office, earlier this month. “Now with that said, the FBI is on top of this big time with our Joint Terrorism Task Force and we have what’s called a Terrorist Screening Center that these individuals will be run through.”
Jindal expressed more alarm, in light of the Paris attack. “It would be prudent to pause the process of refugees coming to the United States,” he wrote. “Authorities need to investigate what happened in Europe before this problem comes to the United States.”
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.