Florida legislators on Monday requested Governor Rick Scott suspend the UN refugee resettlement program in Florida, and Scott sent a related request to Congressional leaders, asking them not to fund the program which would allow up to 425 Syrian refugees to relocation to the state.
Representative Doug Broxson, Senator Greg Evers, Representative Mike Hill, who comprise the Northwest Florida Legislative Delegation, as well as Representative Matt Gaetz and Senator Don Gaetz, joined other members of the Florida Legislature in the request.
Representative Broxson said, “In light of the reports that the assailants in Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris included a Syrian refugee, we must act swiftly to ensure the safety of our citizens here in Florida. While America and other countries have long been a safe haven for those fleeing the destruction of their homelands, our nation’s enemies have begun to use that hospitality to smuggle in operatives and launch terrorist attacks in those safe havens. I ask Governor Scott to end Florida’s acceptance of additional refugees from nations that support terrorism, and I encourage him to work with other Governors to compel the White House to take stronger actions in the war on terror abroad.”
“The federal government’s inability to property vet the flood of refugees coming to our country is a major concern for the safety of all Floridians. Additionally, forcing the vast majority of the cost to care for these refugees on the state and local governments is yet another example of Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility,” stated Senator Evers.
According to a press release issued by Broxson’s office, as of the end of the federal government’s fiscal year in September 2015, Florida was among the top six states in the country for the number of Syrian refugees arriving in the United States, having accepted nearly 100 refugees at that time. The release also stated President Obama in September announced the United States would accept an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next fiscal year.
“We call on Governor Scott to suspend the UN refugee resettlement program in Florida until there is a verified system in place to properly vet all refugees from nations that support terrorism. We need to properly determine if they have any sympathies toward terrorist activities. We are a compassionate nation and we need to add wisdom to that compassion to make sure our citizens are safe,” Representative Hill declared.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families of Friday’s attacks. We also pray for the many lives that have been uprooted and destroyed by ISIS and other terrorist organizations. Finally, we continue to thank and pray for our troops and allies who are fighting ceaselessly to preserve the basic freedoms we hold dear,” added Representative Broxson.
Governor Scott on Monday issued a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Scott pointed out that at least one of the terrorists who attacked Paris had posed as a Syrian refugee.
Scott, recognizing the state does not have the authority to prevent the federal government from relocating refugees to Florida, called on Congress for help. “Therefore, we are asking the United States Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation of up to 425 Syrian refugees,” Scott stated, asking specifically for “extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security.”