Editor’s Note: First, it’s a bluff. 31 State Governor have FAR MORE POWER, under the Constitution, and ANY PRESIDENT. But wait, there’s more…
The Obama Administration is issuing a showdown with states that are refusing to accept Syrian refugees. The administration sent a letter telling states they would be subject to enforcement action if they do not comply with federal plans to import thousands of refugees to the United States over the next few years.
“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 letter stated.
More than 24 governors have come out publicly in recent weeks stating that Syrian refugees would not be welcomed in their states. The governors cite security concerns stemming out of the Nov. 13 terrorist attack in Paris. Many state officials are also concerned about the vetting process for refugees and fear ISIS militants could come to the U.S. as part of the refugee groups.
For states, the issue is as much about money, specifically allowing benefit payments administered by the states, as actual residency. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) sent the letter to state resettlement officials stating that states can’t deny benefits and services to the refugees. It quoted the 1964 Civil Rights Act that prohibits discrimination and said that state officials can’t take it upon themselves to deny programs approved by the federal government.
“Thus, it is not permissible to deny federally funded benefits such as Medicaid or TANF to refugees who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements,” the ORR letter states.
Reactions from House Republicans were swift and furious.
“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,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.
Goodlatte said governors took a position adversarial to the federal government because they are reflecting views of citizens in their states. He also called the Obama administration’s position “hypocritical.”
“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 said.
The House approved a bill last week that improves screening for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. While the Obama administration states the current vetting process is already thorough, this bill requires comprehensive background checks for every Iraqi or Syrian refugee before they can come to the United States. It also requires certification for each admitted refugee that they do not pose a security threat.
Syrian refugees have been entering the U.S. for several years with about 2,200 immigrating since 2011. President Barack Obama has a stated goal of admitting up to 10,000 additional Syrian refugees during this fiscal budget year.