Governor Deal to Block Syrian Refugees

Joining 11 other Republican governors today, Governor Nathan Deal has issued a statement indicating he will prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia. From the governor’s press release:

In light of the terror attacks in Paris, I’ve issued an executive order directing state agency heads to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Georgia,” said Deal. “Further, I call upon the Obama administration to work with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security to confirm the backgrounds of the 59 Syrian refugees recently resettled to ensure they do not pose a security threat to our citizens. Until the federal government and Congress conducts a thorough review of current screening procedures and background checks, we will take every measure available to us at the state level to ensure the safety of Georgians.

Governor Deal’s letter to President Obama references the as-yet-unverified claim that one of the terrorists who attacked Paris on Friday entered the European Union as a Syrian refugee.

Last year Georgia resettled 2,694 refugees, 6 of whom hailed from Syria.

28 comments

  1. Posner says:

    This is why we need RFRA!!! Prevent government from taking overbroad action against Muslims on account of their religion.

    Enact RFRA so the Muslim’s can come to America!!!

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

      • Posner says:

        Nevermind that 6 of the 8 attackers were French or Belgian citizens, 1 unknown, and 1 potentially Syrian. Let’s not let facts get in the way of a good narrative or a chance to score political points.

        (Also, nobody is suggesting we let in refugees indiscriminately. Quite the opposite in fact, we should screen them rigorously–we currently have a 2 year average screening period)

        • saltycracker says:

          Don’t care where they come from, Switzerland or Syria, Mexico or Malaysia, they need identifying and vetting at appropriate levels prior to entry and they aren’t.
          Or Cuba which according to Pew instit. is a few thousand a month since we took them under our wing in January.
          And we should expect the CIA and FBI to be on top of a threat even if from Hahira, GA.

          • zedsmith says:

            like he said, the screening period is a long and deep look into your personal life. and it takes between 18 months and 2 years.

        • SallyForth says:

          And during that 2 years, where are they physically? In Clarkston, or maybe down the street from you, perhaps? Vetting should occur before the fact, not after.

          • Andrew C. Pope says:

            In the case is the the Syrian refugees, it’s most likely Turkey or Greece.

            The US doesn’t let you in until AFTER the screening.

  2. Andrew C. Pope says:

    Governor Deal thinks he has the authority or the ability to prevent the re-settlement of refugees. That’s cute.

  3. Jon Richards says:

    Received via press release from the Georgia Republican Party:

    In light of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday and the continued threats to public safety created by our porous borders, I applaud the efforts of Governor Deal to keep Georgians safe by refusing to take in Syrian refugees,” said Georgia Republican Party Chairman John Padgett. “While many Syrians fleeing from their war-torn country are well-meaning and peaceful, the federal government has proven over and over again their inability to adequately monitor those who are coming into our country. Now is not the time to put our families and communities at risk. We must remain on guard and put the safety of our state and country first.

    • Feeling the Bern says:

      the federal government has proven over and over again their inability to adequately monitor those who are coming into our country

      Using death and tragedy to score cheap political points. That is SO 2004!

    • Chet Martin says:

      When have they proved that? The Chattanooga shooter was an American citizen, as was Major Hasan of Fort Hood. Even the Tsarnaev brothers began to radicalize in the United States.

      I take it they’re referring to illegal immigration. Yet an honest accounting acknowledges 10,000 government settled refugees are very, very different from 11 million illegal immigrants

      Since 9/11, all incidents of Islamist terror have come from those radicalized in the United States. Even the Parisian attackers were mostly EU citizens. This is the worst way to combat domestic radicalization.

  4. D_in_ATL says:

    There’s higher ground here and Deal is looking at it from below. There’s obviously some risk accepting refugees but how much of a coward do you have to be to shut out families who have nothing….not even a country?

    GOP playing to the cheap seats. In the end it will make you look bad.

  5. Ellynn says:

    And the governor is going to get around ‘The United States Refugee Act of 1980’ how exactly? Not trying to be argumentative, I really want to know.

  6. Rhonda Kazmierski says:

    I am grateful to Governor Nathan Deal for protecting his constituent’s from an influx of Syrian ‘Refugees’. We have no way of knowing who these people are, and have no way to ‘vet’ them. This, is obviously, a wonderful opportunity for terrorist to infiltrate our State. I admire his preemptive attempt to prevent an incident in Georgia, as has just occurred in Paris. Again, thank you, Governor Deal.

    • David C says:

      Actually, we do have a way to vet them. We’ve been doing it right now. It’s very specific, very intense, and takes quite a long time. (http://www.vox.com/explainers/2015/11/16/9745318/syrian-refugees-us-isis) And restrictions on refugees would have done zilch to prevent an attack in Paris carried out by French and Belgian citizens. The US has accepted 750,000 refugees from all over the world since 9/11. Not a single one of them has engaged in terrorist activities, unlike multiple U.S citizens during that time. If terrorists wish to “infiltrate our State” there are myriad other ways they could try. Or, they could just be born here, as Georgia’s most infamous terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph was. Gov. Deal’s hackery does nothing to protect this state. It solves nothing and helps no one, except to demonstrate Gov. Deal’s ease at resorting to demagoguery rather than demonstrating the faintest bit of common sense.

      • SallyForth says:

        Naturalized or native French and Belgian? The photos I’ve seen are Middle Eastern and self-proclaimed ISIS. No matter where they were born, it actually is more frightening if they were there legally. At least Deal is trying to do something.

        • Andrew C. Pope says:

          You realize that not all Europeans are white, right? Like, there are plenty of French-born people of color, particularly in the outer arrondisements of Paris and in cities like Marseille, Lyon, etc.

          • Andrew C. Pope says:

            Some examples:

            Gael Monfils
            Thierry Henry
            Karim Benzema
            Samir Nasri
            Vincent Kompany
            Mousa Dembele
            Romelu Lukaku
            Zinedine Zidane

            I don’t mean to come across as a jerk, but this is an issue that non-whites, particularly Muslims, encounter throughout Europe and one of the reasons Daesh has had such success recruiting and radicalizing Muslim youth.

        • Andrew C. Pope says:

          Also, Gov. Deal isn’t trying to “do something.” The reality is that he can’t do anything. Immigration is strictly the purview of the federal government. Gov. Deal has no say in how many refugees the US decides to allow in.

          Furthermore, once they are in, he has no power to stop them from moving to Georgia if they choose to do so. Nor can he force them to leave.

          The only thing he can do is make life more difficult for refugees by not offering job training, community integration programs, language courses, etc. Even then, it’s murky as to what measures the state is allowed to take. Plus, private charities will probably pick up the slack. Any efforts he can implement won’t do anything to stem the flow of refugees to Georgia, since refugees tend to want to move to places where they have family or friends. It will serve, however, to alienate and marginalize those Muslims that choose to come and the ones that are already here.

  7. Trey A. says:

    And this is exactly the type of response we should expect (and deserve) by twice electing a man with no moral compass as governor of this fair state. Shame on us. And shame on Nathan Deal.

    Matthew 25: 34-46

  8. George Chidi says:

    If we’re serious about fighting Daesh, we should take in all the refugees we can. No joke.

    Daesh hates the refugees. Every one is evidence of how horrible they actually are. Daesh exists because of a carefully-crafted media-savvy narrative about their authenticity and the righteousness of their cause, targeting disaffected Muslim youth.

    Every story told about a child who died trying to get away from them, of families being murdered by them, of oppression undercuts that message. White American Christians won’t be heard when talking about the horrors of Daesh, because potential ISIS converts will presume an agenda. But the authenticity of the story of refugees — or how authentically Muslim they are — isn’t likely to be challenged by young Muslims in the places refugees land. They’re an inoculation against radicalism.

    For all the talk about how there will be terrorist infiltrators coming from Syria, it’s probably worth noting that about 200 Americans have attempted or succeeded in joining ISIS forces in Syria. We don’t need refugees to have radical Islamist terrorists. It is highly likely that they’re already here, native born.

    There’s an essential moral calculus that bears examining through all of this. Shutting the door essentially says that we’re willing to let monsters slaughter thousands — perhaps tens of thousands — of innocent people, many of whom will be women and children, because of some unspecified and unquantified perception of a marginal increased risk that terrorists might attack America again.

    If I were looking for a working definition of cowardice, I’d start with this proposition.

    But our politicians will go this route anyway, and here’s why: Suppose that there is another terrorist attack. A big one, in relative terms. A Paris, here. I think it’s likely. We’re probably overdue, simply as a statistical matter.

    Be the politician who says after an attack that kills, say, a hundred people that it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to tear up our Constitution and our culture, not in a country with 315 million people. Demagogues — and isn’t our country full of them now — will immediately ask if our politicians did everything they could to keep us safe. The voting public can be expected to vote their fears, and punish anyone they think failed on safety.

    This is how we get security theatre at the airport, the panopticon surveillance state on our streets, Julian Assange telling us how most of our drone strikes end up killing civilians and Edward Snowden telling us that the government reads all of our email.

    It’s also how we end up sending American soldiers back to the sand box to be killed by Daesh, with similar results to the last time — a trillion dollars in economic damage that they could never realistically inflict on their own, another generation of Middle Easterners who view us as the enemy, hundreds of American servicemen killed, another 10,000 veterans wounded or with PTSD, a foreign policy that can’t extract ourselves from theocrats like the Saudis, and our national honor sullied with the inevitable atrocities of low-intensity conflict.

    In other words, just what the bastards want.

  9. saltycracker says:

    Long term, we should welcome legal immigrants. It is profiling but the common Denominator of internal terrorist threats are statistically radical Muslims. Possibly but unlikely Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddists or Other. The new migrantion wave might get a few comrades in But most likely the terrorists are here and have been here. And chose jihad to the Americans they live with.

    The FBI/CIA has a sketchy track record and certainly has their hands full now. The threats are numerous, DC is high on the list. This is no time to stretch resources vetting new arrivals, especially Muslims, the vast majority trying to escape hell.

    To ferret out the bastards we don’t need to test those charged with our defense with unnecessary mass multi-tasking. The best way to convert is to not allow any more “victories” by crazies, being open armed right now is not worth Innocent deaths.

    • Andrew C. Pope says:

      Well, no. If a terror attack is being committed in the US, the odds are far more likely that the attack is being carried out by an American citizen. You’re almost as likely to see a terror attack from a far right-wing anti-abortion activist, a white supremacist organization, or a far left-wing animal rights nut job as you are to see an attack by a radicalized Muslim extremist. Should we profile for them as well?

      In what world do you think we’re stretching resources? Most of the vetting is done by State and DHS. It’s entirely possible for them to process refugee applications while the FBI/CIA simultaneously monitoring for terror activity. You do realize that these people all specialize in certain areas, right? No one is walking around Langley going “we found a terrorist safe house, but I have to process all this stack of visa applications first.”

      Lastly, closing our doors to prevent innocent death is a pile of rubbish. By closing our doors we are costing innocent lives. But, hey, they aren’t American, so who cares? Shoulda been born in a better country.

  10. John Konop says:

    We need a real adult conversation about this issue not grandstanding. Our biggest risk is not refugees, they are actually vetted tightly. The risk really falls into 2 areas, first the loopholes in the visa laws allows people to get a visa from a different country and come here with very little knowledge and or control, this needs to be negotiated across countries, with way tighter restrictions. The final issue is monitoring people once they are in our country, this is balance between civil liberties and protecting the country. Also needs international corporation as well.

Comments are closed.