* Well, yeah…
“States lack legal authority to refuse to accept refugees (or any other immigrants) that are admitted by the federal [government],” [Adam Cox, a New York University Law School professor who is an expert in immigration and constitutional law] wrote in an email.
* And, of course…
“There are no barriers, no requirements in the Refugee Act of 1980 that indicate a governor has to give permission to resettle in a state,” [Anna Crosslin, the president of International Institut] said. “That’s all a federal process.”
That’s pretty obvious. We can’t just shut our state borders.
* But the states do have some leverage…
That’s not to say that states can’t make it difficult for Syrian refugees to settle once they are admitted to the United States. Once refugees are on their way to the United States, the State Department works with nine nongovernmental agencies that contract with the federal government on resettlement. Together they decide where to place refugees around the country, based on factors like the availability of jobs and housing and whether there is a local community from their home country that may be helpful, explained Kathleen Newland, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute.
“States do have a role in the refugee resettlement process post admission, and it would certainly be possible for them to obstruct the resettlement process,” she said.
States could instruct their employees not to cooperate with the resettlement program, or they could freeze state-level refugee benefits or federal refugee benefits distributed by the states.
All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official. The announcement further casts doubt on the validity of a Syrian passport found near the bodies of a slain attacker.
“Let me underline, the profile of the terrorists so far identified tells us this is an internal threat,” Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, said after a meeting with EU foreign ministers. “It is all EU citizens so far. This can change with the hours, but so far it is quite clear it is an issue of internal domestic security.”
The majority of attackers were identified as French or Belgian nationals. An Egyptian passport was also found, but the Egyptian Ambassador to France said it belonged to a critically wounded victim and not a perpetrator. The Syrian passport caused a ruckus, with some politicians in Europe and the U.S. calling for a halt to Syrian refugee resettlement. An increasing number of state governors are trying to defund the settlement program. American officials told CBS News that the passport might be fake, while British-daily the Independent reported that a man was arrested in Serbia while carrying a Syrian passport with matching details to the one found in Paris.
* ADDED: The Economist: After refugees are referred by an American embassy or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, they are screened by Department of State Resettlement Service Centers all over the world. They undergo multiple investigations of their biographies; biometric checks of their fingerprints and photographs; in-depth interviews by highly trained Department of Homeland Security officers; medical screenings as well as investigations by the National Counterterrorism Center and by intelligence agencies. The entire process can take longer than three years. If a potential terrorist is determined to enter America to do harm, there are easier and faster ways to get there than by going through the complex refugee resettlement process.
* ADDED: Sen. Dick Durbin: “I want to add my voice to others here today in sharing my deepest condolences and solidarity with the people of that great nation,” said Durbin. “Some have reacted to the tragedy in France by calling for us to suspend refugees coming to this country. Many of these people have not reflected on the refugee situation in our country. Each year, the United States accepts about 70,000 refugees from around the world. These refugees are each carefully investigated, reviewed, and vetted. That process takes anywhere from 18 to 24 months before a refugee from any part of the world is allowed to enter the United States. We do everything humanly possible and take extraordinary efforts to make certain that dangerous people do not arrive on our shores. That vetting process must continue, and when it comes to suspicious circumstances, must be doubled in its intensity to make certain that our nation is safe. But those who are focusing on that as the answer to what happened in Paris are very shortsighted.”
* ADDED: McCarthy at counterterrorism workshop: Tactics must change: “I think the nature of hostage situations has also changed, because [the Paris gunmen] took hostages, but what were they doing? They were killing them. So we can’t use those tactics that we’ve used in the past where we surround, contain, talk, try and negotiate. We’re going to be in a combat situation if these things happen and we have to adjust our strategies in that way.”
* Chicago mayor says his Paris trip for climate meeting is still on despite ‘vile attack’
* Gutierrez rips Rauner move to ban Syrian refugees
* Alderman Rips Rauner in Letter to Obama