A conservative governor who helped initiate hysteria over Syrian refugees after last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris failed to explain his belief that the U.S. government should put its refugee program on “pause.”
When interviewed by National Public Radio, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) couldn’t name any problems with the vetting process for asylum seekers, only saying his constituents had raised the issue when pressed by NPR’s Morning Edition host, Steve Inskeep.
“Well I wouldn’t single out any specific problem I have with it, but when you have these events, doesn’t it make sense you should pause,” Snyder said, calling it “good old fashioned common sense.”
When asked by Inskeep what in particular concerns him about the often two-year vetting process that involves multiple government agencies, Snyder couldn’t come up with anything.
Inskeep then pointed out that some people come to the United States much more easily than refugees, including those on tourist visas and from some Western European countries for whom a visa isn’t even required to enter the U.S.
But Snyder didn’t have any issues with that. It’s refugees he wants to talk about.
“Well I wouldn’t necessarily [limit tourists]” Snyder responded. “This is a particular case, this refugee process, where there is a high degree of concern.”
Most of the attackers in Paris were citizens of European countries. A Syrian passport held by one assailant who was killed in a police raid was apparently fake, the Washington Post reports.
Some of the terrorist attackers in Paris last week were citizens of such countries, Inskeep said.
“This is a case where I think there’s a lot of concern in the general public, and actually I believe this review process could give people more comfort that the right things were being done,” Snyder said.
According to ThinkProgress, refugees already face a high degree of scrutiny which involves checking their backgrounds with agencies including the Department of Homeland Security.
According to NPR, Snyder was the first governor of more than two dozen mostly-Republican state leaders to urge stoppage of allowing Syrian refugees into the United States, a move that unleashed a torrent of hysteria and anti-Muslim bigotry.
The United States accepts 70,000 refugees fleeing from global violence annually, PBS reports. The Obama Administration has increased the number to 85,000 for the coming year with provision for 10,000 Syrians fleeing the civil war in that country. Since the conflict started in 2011, the U.S. has accepted 2,500 refugees, half of whom are children.
Listen to the interview, as posted by NPR, here: