SCOTTSDALE — Saying all of them may pose a risk, Gov. Doug Ducey is defending his call to at least temporarily halt the resettlements in this country of all refugees, no matter where they’re from.
But he won’t answer questions about whether there should be heightened scrutiny of those already here.
Ducey is one of more than two dozen governors who asked the federal government to stop allowing refugees in following the terrorist attacks in Paris. At least one of the people linked to those incidents was reportedly a Syrian refugee.
But Ducey has gone farther than most of his colleagues. He wants no new refugees at all until he gets assurances from the Obama administration that they’re being properly screened. Ducey said Friday that blanket treatment is appropriate.
“The world has changed in the last week,” he said.
“There’s a heightened awareness of what’s happening,” Ducey continued. “And I want to make sure that we’re properly vetting and properly screening anyone who’s coming into the state of Arizona.”
The efforts by Ducey and other governors to have a role in saying who is admitted into their states comes despite court rulings which have repeatedly said that immigration is entirely a federal issue. That includes rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate court slapping down Arizona law aimed at giving the state a role in enforcing immigration laws.
But the governor said this is different.
“We are trying to ensure the safety of Arizonans,” Ducey said. He said unlike immigration issues, federal laws on refugees do provide a specific role for states.
“And we are to be consulted — I am to be consulted — in these relocation efforts,” he said. Ducey said that’s what the White House promised him and other governors in a conference call earlier this week.
But the governor, in talking about the risks of refugees who may be terrorists, would not answer questions of whether those already here — including hundreds from Syria — should be monitored or perhaps even checked out by state police. Instead he focused on what he said should already have been done by the federal government, with advice from the state.
“This is why consultation is so important in our refugee relocation program,” he said. “We have rights under the law, and we expect them to be followed.”
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