Louisiana politicians denounce Syrian refugee relocation

Refugee backlash
Published: Nov. 18, 2015 at 2:19 AM CST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2015 at 2:40 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - David Vitter and John Bel Edwards released campaign ads Tuesday denouncing Syrian refugees being relocated to Louisiana, and during both ads, the candidates attacked one another.

"John Bel Edwards has pledged to work with Obama to bring Syrian Refugees to Louisiana," Vitter's ad tells viewers.

Edwards responded in his ad by saying, "It comes as no surprise that David Vitter is distorting the facts and trying to use this tragedy to save his desperate campaign." 
Meanwhile, the backlash continues to grow against Syrian refugees resettling in the United States. The federal government says 14 Syrians have relocated to Louisiana, and it's estimated that 6.5 million Syrians are displaced after fleeing Isis terrorists and persecution in their home country. For the 2016 fiscal year, the U.S. has agreed to take in 10,000.
But after French officials say one of the terrorists involved in the mass killings in Paris got into their country under the guise of being a Syrian refugee, Louisiana politicians want the refugee resettlement program stopped.

"Why in the world would we allow them to come into our country?" Gov. Bobby Jindal asked. "This president's policies are making our country weaker. This is a mistake. This is a threat to our way of life."

"There's got to be a reaction on the home front. With all these Isis threats against the American homeland, the first response is looking at these Syrian refugees," FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.
Sherman believes it's natural for politicians to respond to the international crisis. But some argue the fears of terrorists posing as refugees to get into the U.S. are exaggerated.

"There's a very strict protocol in place and we have got a lot of refugees we can choose from. So the ones that might raise concerns will simply not be selected to come to the United States," said Susan Weishar, a migration specialist with the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University.

She said unlike our European counterparts, the vetting process for Syrian refugees to get into the U.S. takes 12 to 16 months and applicants go through a rigorous review.

"First of all they have to be recommended by the United Nations high commission for refugees, then there has to be an in person intensive interview process with the Department of Homeland Security, and then biometric screening and then multiple U.S. agencies use their international databases to search the background of the applicant," Weishar said.

So far, 31 governors have opposed the relocation of the Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Six governors are welcoming the refugees. The rest have not committed one way or the other.

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