DES MOINES – Gov. Branstad today joined twenty-seven other governors from around the United States in calling on President Obama to pause his plan to resettle Syrian refugees until further improvements can be made to the vetting process.
In the letter, the governors express serious concerns about recent comments made by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in which he admitted that the U.S. does not have the capacity to adequately screen all Syrian refugees who attempt to enter the U.S.
The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House Washington, DC 20500
November 20, 2015
Dear Mr. President:
Our country has long served as a welcoming beacon to individuals and families who seek safety and refugee status within the borders of the United States. For years we have been proud to welcome refugees into our communities in their pursuit of a better life and future.
However, we are deeply concerned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria may have exploited the generosity of the refugee system to carry out Friday’s terrorist attack in Paris. While the tragic event was a direct assault on the European Union’s refugee system, the potential for this situation to arise in the United States is escalated by information revealed by the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey. In testimony before Congress, he admitted to certain inadequacies in the system that would prevent the thorough vetting of the 10,000 refugees your administration has pledged to admit into the United States.
As governors, we are charged with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our citizens. In order to adequately fulfill this duty, we request that you immediately review the process by which you conduct background checks on all individuals applying for refugee status and address the gaps acknowledged by your director of the FBI.
In the wake of this recent tragedy, and until we can ensure the citizens of our states that an exhaustive review of all security measures has been completed and the necessary changes have been implemented, we respectfully request that you suspend all plans to resettle additional Syrian refugees.