McCrory asks feds to stop sending Syrian refugees to NC

Posted November 16, 2015
Updated June 12

— Gov. Pat McCrory says he has asked the federal government to stop sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina until more is known how those fleeing the war-torn country are vetted.

Citing last week's Paris terrorist attacks, McCrory joined at least 10 other governors from around the country in asking the federal government to provide more information about those being resettled from Syria.

"I empathize with these people who are dealing with unimaginable atrocities from ISIS," McCrory said during a hastily called news conference in Charlotte. "But what worries me is some of these people might be ISIS."

McCrory pointed to reports that suggested that at least one of those involved in the Paris attacks arrived in France as a refugee and that ISIS may be trying to send fighters to other countries as refugees.

His announcement was less definitive than some other governors. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who like McCrory is a Republican, issued an executive order purporting to ban the resettlement of refugees in his state. However, it's unclear that states have the power to block federal resettlement programs.

While North Carolina is the conduit for some federal refugee resettlement funding, McCrory said Monday that he did not know of any way that he could simply end resettlements.

Rather, he said, the federal government brings refugees into the country, and they are then turned over to nonprofits such as U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The nonprofits bill the state for some of the services they provide, but that funding is underwritten by the federal government.

McCrory said North Carolina has received 59 Syrian refugees to date. President Barack Obama announced in September that the United States would expand the total number of Syrian refugees it would accept, from 1,600 to 10,000, but only after a rigorous screening process.

McCrory said Monday that the state knows little about how that screening works and was told virtually nothing about those who have been resettled here.

"We would trust them (the federal government) more if they would tell us more about what they're doing," he said. "I want to make sure we're not opening ourselves up to a potential terrorist situation."

Ellen Andrews, director of Church World Service in Durham, which helps international refugees find safe haven, said McCrory has little to fear from the refugees.

"Refugees are very carefully scrutinized, and there is a firm vetting process in place for refugees who enter the country," Andrews said.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants' Rights Project, said it's wrong to base policy on what she called "fear mongering" by politicians.

"Some politicians have attempted to fabricate a link between the tragedy in Paris and the resettlement of Syrian refugees to the United States," Wang said in a statement. "It is factually wrong for blaming refugees for the very terror they are fleeing, and it is legally wrong because it violates our laws and the values on which our country was founded."

In advance of McCrory's announcement, several state lawmakers were urging the governor to take steps to turn away Syrians.

"I have asked the Governor to stop all Syrian refugees from entering NC and to call on the Feds to deport the 44 who are already here," Rep. Carl Ford, R-Rowan, said via Twitter.

State House Majority Leader Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said in a news release, "I have expressed concerns to Gov. McCrory that we must refuse relocation of any refugees here to ensure the safety of all North Carolinians. With the terrorist attacks in Paris over the weekend, we cannot allow such attacks to happen here."

Republican U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis called for the entire Syrian refugee program to be halted until people's backgrounds could be substantiated.

"The Syrian refugee program should be suspended until the American people are satisfied that they know exactly who the President is admitting into the country via this program," Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

"I have deep concerns as we lack the appropriate background data to properly vet such a large group of Syrian refugees and believe it is time for the Obama Administration to reassess its plan to bring them to the United States," Tillis said in a statement.

But Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said the issues of terrorism and Syrian refugees shouldn't be conflated.

"Closing our borders to refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war not only flies in the face of our national values of protecting the persecuted and providing refuge for the oppressed; it also undermines our nation’s standing in the world and our ability to confront the scourge of violent extremism," Price said in a statement.


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  • David Herman Nov 19, 2015
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    You are quite correct to address me as sir.

  • Geneva Smith Nov 19, 2015
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    We already don't have enough jobs for the legal citizen or illegal citizens, and now the dems want us to take in more people that taxpayers have to foot the bills for. More welfare, food stamps, housing, transportation, medical and other stuff. I don't think the bleeding hearts have thought about this much, try thinking in terms of your children's futures and will our children pay for this terrible decision 20 years from now? 100,000 will probably be 3 million in 10 years or less.

  • Orion Sune Nov 18, 2015
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    Seems like the terrorists are winning. We are afraid to render aid to other humans because of the threat of terrorism. We are slowly and quietly taking away our citizens privacies in the name of catching terrorists. We allow closed doors laws that clearly favor the powerful in the name of protecting against terrorism. Terrorists won.

  • Kathryn Adams Nov 18, 2015
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    Wait, I butted in on CarolinaK's comment? I AM CarolinaK, that's the username the account was set up with, and that's the name that's attached to all the quotes in your post, what the heck are YOU looking at? And my original comment wasn't that it was lousy to be a Christian, it was a lousy implication that Muslims don't count as "assimilated" into this country unless they convert to Christianity.

    So you've decided on my status as a Christian, and you've decided what I believe, and what my political beliefs are, and what I'm GOING to believe tomorrow, and you're not even looking carefully enough at my actual posts to see who's posting. Is there any reason for me to even continue this conversation with you, or do you want to continue responding to the arguments you're making up for me in your head?

  • Mike Hill Nov 18, 2015
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    Coming to America is privilege, not a right. You have to earn privileges. When a religion in the 21st century treats women and children worse than livestock, and is violent to any religion other than their own, they do not belong here or are welcome here. This is all about a black man and his party's political ideology, who hates White America and it's culture and they are on a crusade to change the demographic of the country and its culture which they hate. It all comes from self-loathing, bitterness and fear, from these people. When you are a loser in the most opportunistic civilization in the World how can you have a positive self image of yourself? Then you, (the democrats and Obama), seek to destroy that which you think should honor you.

  • David Herman Nov 17, 2015
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    I was commenting about CarolineK's implication that Christianity would somehow be a lousy thing to convert to. Then you butted in when I compared the ideology of CarolineK(a liberal) to a Christians ideology. As long as you are not a Christian, your closed mind will not allow you to agree with me. You mold your religion to fit your political ideology. Political ideals change with the wind. What will you beleive tomorrow? Yesterday it was OK to kill the unborn, today its OK for 2 men to play house and be married. Tomorrow you want gender identity to be abolished. Christianity is timeless, your ideology is anti-Christian and changes with the wind. God help you!

  • Kathryn Adams Nov 17, 2015
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    We're never going to agree on whether or not I count as a "real" Christian, so can I ask you a question: how exactly did we get onto the topic of homosexuality? I jumped into this conversation pointing out that Edward Koch's comment that Muslims don't assimilate didn't take into account the millions of Muslim Americans who HAVE assimilated, and the next thing I know you've created a bizarre strawman argument about killing babies and sexual practices. Where the heck did THAT come from?

  • David Herman Nov 17, 2015
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    Homosexuality is a sin, how can you possibly interpret it otherwise. Celebrating and having pride in it is called blasphemy. On these matters there is no grey area. Many biblical writings indeed have different possible interpretation. On the other hand, he destroyed a city for sodomy andd several other liberal behaviors. I would interpret that if he has killed people for committing sodomy, that you probably ought not be doing it? You have another interpretation? Or is this where Christianity takes a back seat to your political agenda?

  • Kim Schrock Nov 17, 2015
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    We do not need any Syrian refugees in NC.

  • Russell Chapman Nov 17, 2015
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    You sir are obtuse.