Jindal's order keeping Syrians out of the state may not be legal

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana State Police want more information about Syrian refugees living in the state as Gov. Bobby Jindal moves to keep future refugees out. But the move may not be legal.

"Closing the borders, its prophylactic, it doesn't really work. If you're intent on getting in, you're gonna get in," former FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Jim Bernazzani said.

Bernazzani spent years working on counter-terrorism operations.

"We have ample resources in the FBI to the terrorist screening center to understand who's coming in town and perhaps what they're gonna do," Bernazzani said.

Bernazzani calls Jindal's executive order preventing Syrian refugees from landing in Louisiana a knee-jerk reaction to the terror attacks in Paris.

"States have really relatively little authority in interposing their policy in federal immigration matters," Tulane constitutional law professor Keith Werhan said.

Jindal isn't the only governor in the country issuing such an order. Werhan said in this case, there isn't necessarily power in numbers.

"Many times political actors will take the position, 'well I'm gonna do what I think is right so I'll let the courts worry about whether or not I have the authority,'" Werhan said.

There are currently 14 Syrian refugees living in Louisiana, 13 of them in the New Orleans area. They arrived before the Paris attacks, yet State Police Col. Mike Edmonson expresses concern that little is known about them. He places blame on the State Department.

"At least provide some type of info to the public and educate them so they can say, you know what, you've done everything you can to vet this person, we believe they've come here for the right reason," Edmonson said.

The colonel is clear: Louisiana residents are safe and have no reason to worry at this time. Bernazzani echoes those sentiments, saying the FBI is on top of terrorism activity in the United States.

"Our vetting process in the United States can weed these guys out," Bernazzani said.

But he said you can never be too safe, and it's important for all residents to remain vigilant.

Bernazzani said it's important to note that although ISIS leaders used the Syrian refugee program to slip their guys into France, he highly doubts they'd take the same route if trying to pull something off in the United States.

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