The Corner

Politics & Policy

Obama and His Team Dismiss All Concerns About Syrian Refugees

Let me get this straight. The White House organizes a conference call with governors of both parties to discuss how incoming Syrian refugees will be vetted, and even Democratic governors are left fuming about the lack of information, clarity, and cooperation with states.

[New Hampshire Gov. Maggie] Hassan, one of two Democrats to challenge the administration on the call, had already come out in favor of halting the flow of Syrian refugees to the United States. She expressed anger that state officials aren’t notified when Syrian refugees are resettled in their territory.

[California Gov. Jerry] Brown said he favored continuing to admit Syrian refugees but wanted the federal government to hand over information that would allow states to keep track of them, the GOP state official said.

[White House Chief of Staff Denis] McDonough responded to Brown that there was currently no process in place to give states such information and the administration saw no reason to change the status quo. The nongovernmental organizations that help resettle the refugees would have such information.

Brown countered by noting that state law enforcement agencies have active investigations into suspected radicals and that information about incoming Syrian refugees could help maintain their awareness about potential radicalization. He suggested the U.S. had to adjust the way it operates in light of the Paris attacks.

McDonough reiterated his confidence in the current process. While promising to consider what Brown and other senators had said, he emphasized that the administration had no plans to increase information sharing on refugees with states as of now.

Elsewhere, Senators Chuck Schumer and Dianne Feinstein said Tuesday there “may be a need for a pause in accepting Syrian refugees but they both wanted to hear more from the administration about the issue.”

The House prepares legislation for a pause in the refugee program; apparently Congressional Democrats are wavering in their opposition.

It would be wiser for the White House to stop dismissing concerns from governors and members of Congress, to provide states more information about the refugees, and to take concerns about ISIS infiltrators seriously. But taking their lead from the president, they just can’t resist the urge to sneer and dismiss the concerns as silly and rooted in hateful xenophobia.

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