Obama Warns States They Can’t Refuse Syrian Refugees
President Barack Obama isn’t buying into the anti-Syrian refugee hysteria. While Republicans call on an all-out ban on Syrian immigration, Obama recognizes that it is the United States job to lead.
Obama warned non-compliant states that they will face penalties if they refuse Syrian refugees.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) wrote a letter describing the situation on Wednesday.
“Accordingly, states may not categorically deny ORR-funded benefits and services to Syrian refugees,” the letter said. “Any state with such a policy would not be in compliance with the State Plan requirements, applicable statutes, and their own assurances, and could be subject to enforcement action, including suspension and termination.”
The Hill reports:
The letter cited the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of race or country or origin.
“Thus, it is not permissible to deny federally funded benefits such as Medicaid or TANF to refugees who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements.”
The House overwhelmingly passed a measure earlier this month to make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to enter the country, following the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris in which at least one assailant is suspected of entering the country posed as a migrant.
The ORR letter said refugees are subject to a rigorous screening process before they enter the country.
“It is the most robust screening process for any category of individuals seeking admissions into the United States, and it is only after admission that ORR and our partners in resettlement begin our work,” the letter said.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) slammed the Obama administration as “hypocritical” over the letter.
“While the United States has the most generous refugee system in the world, the American people are rightly concerned about admitting Syrian refugees and the impact it would have on the safety of their families and neighbors,” Goodlatte said in a statement.
“It’s hypocritical for Obama Administration officials to threaten enforcement action against these states when they refuse to enforce the vast majority of our immigration laws, such as cracking down on sanctuary cities that openly defy federal law and endanger the American people,” he continued.
Obama has vowed to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. over the next fiscal year.
Photo credit: HNGN.