Gov. John Kasich said Monday he is against admitting more Syrian refugees to the United States and to resettling them in Ohio, following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
“The governor doesn’t believe the U.S. should accept additional Syrian refugees because security and safety issues cannot be adequately addressed,” Kasich spokesman Jim Lynch said in an email. “The governor is writing to the President to ask him to stop, and to ask him to stop resettling them in Ohio. We are also looking at what additional steps Ohio can take to stop resettlement of these refugees.”
Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger (R-91st Dist.) issued a statement Monday supporting Kasich’s move.
“As Speaker, I agree with Governor Kasich’s statement that, at this time, we should not allow Syrian refugees into Ohio,” said Rosenberger. “As we again saw this past weekend, these are very challenging times around the world, and it is critical that public leaders take precautionary steps to keep United States’ citizens safe. In order to protect all Americans, we must ensure that there is a stringent vetting process and appropriate security measures in place to keep danger and terror off of American soil. The protection of Ohio’s families is paramount. Therefore, I stand ready and willing to help Governor Kasich in our united mission to keep all Ohioans and Americans safe.”
In 2015, Ohio received 3,040 refugees from all over the world, according to Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Of those, 48 were from Syria, The (Toledo) Blade reported.
Kasich is scheduled to give a speech Tuesday outlining his national security strategy at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. His statement Monday was not as strong as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s, who said Sunday he would suspend refugee resettlements in the state.
“Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration. But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents,” he said in a statement issued Monday. “Given the terrible situations in Paris and Beirut, I’ve directed that we put on hold our efforts to accept new refugees until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security completes a full review of security clearances and procedures.”
Snyder clarified Monday that refugees who recently arrived or those who have been cleared to come to Michigan and are expected soon will still be allowed in to the state.
Several U.S. governors are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states in the aftermath of the coordinated attacks in Paris, though an immigration expert says they have no legal authority to do so.
Several governors across the nation echoed Kasich’s position. The governors are responding to heightened concerns that terrorists might use the refugees as cover to sneak across borders. Authorities said a Syrian passport was found near one of the attackers, and the Paris prosecutors’ office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.
Millions of Syrians have fled to neighboring Middle Eastern countries and Europe, and President Barack Obama’s administration has pledged to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next 12 months. The U.S. State Department said the refugees would be spread across the country. Republican presidential candidates have criticized the plan.
In response to the calls from governors to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to their states, Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigration, said under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.