Governor: Mississippi won't be accepting Syrian refugees

Published: Nov. 16, 2015 at 3:43 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2015 at 11:44 PM CST
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JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - Gov. Phil Bryant said in statement Monday Mississippi will not accept any Syrian refugees following terror attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.

Bryant said:

StartFragment"I'm currently working with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Office of Homeland Security to determine the current status of any Syrian refugees that may be brought to our state in the near future. I will do everything humanly possible to stop any plans from the Obama administration to put Syrian refugees in Mississippi. The policy of bringing these individuals into the country is not only misguided, it is extremely dangerous. I'll be notifying President Obama of my decision today to resist this potential action."EndFragment

Bryant is one of more than a dozen governors hoping to bar Syrian refugees from his state. Louisiana has accepted 14 so far this year. However, Louisiana governor and Republican Presidential candidate Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Monday to prevent new refugees from resettling there.

President Obama said at the G20 Summit in Turkey Monday that shutting access to Syrian refugees doesn't equate to limiting terrorism.

"We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence, and somehow, we start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism," Obama said.

In September, the White House announced plans to accept an additional 10,000 refugees from Syria to help Europe handle the influx of migrants. Mark Toner, spokesperson for U.S. State Department, says the department now has lawyers looking into whether it is legal for states to ban refugees.

"We remain steadfastly committed to the president's plan to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States in Fiscal year 2016," Toner said. "We think we can do this safely and in a way that represents the best of American values, which is accepting these people who are fleeing violence, many of them vulnerable many of them victims of this violence but in a way that ensures the safety and security of the American people."

According to the Migration Policy Institute, the refugee resettlement process takes 18 to 24 months of checks and screenings, compared to 4 months in Canada.

"We wouldn't, to be perfectly honest, try to increase the number of refugees if we couldn't ensure that they were safely vetted," Toner said.

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