The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
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.
Governors Robert Bentley of Alabama, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Nathan Deal of Georgia, Butch Otter of Idaho, Bruce Rauner of Illinois, Mike Pence of Indiana, Terry Branstad of Iowa, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Paul LePage of Maine, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota, John Kasich of Ohio, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota, Bill Haslam of Tennessee, Greg Abbott of Texas, Gary Herbert of Utah, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Matt Mead of Wyoming.