Washington rep.: ‘Utterly irresponsible’ to let Syrian refugees into state

Nov 17, 2015, 4:27 PM | Updated: Nov 18, 2015, 7:11 am
A sign welcoming Syrian refugees is placed at the entrance to the office of the Arizona governor du...
A sign welcoming Syrian refugees is placed at the entrance to the office of the Arizona governor during a rally at the Arizona Capitol Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in Phoenix. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has joined a growing number of governors calling for an immediate halt to the placement of any new refugees in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris. The U.S. State Department says Arizona has received 153 Syrian refugees so far this year. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The debate continues over whether the United States should accept Syrian refugees, and one Washington politician is adding his local voice to the conversation.

“It’s just a highly irresponsible policy to open the same flood gates here, on our shores, when our government cannot properly vet these people,” said Republican State Representative Jay Rodne on the Dori Monson Show. “We don’t know their background.”

Related: U.S. Congressman on why we should allow Syrian refugees into USA

Rodne, of Snoqualmie, came out in opposition of Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s public statement that Washington would accept refugees fleeing Syria. Neighboring Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a similar statement. Just more than half of the United States’ governors have taken the opposite stance and said they will not accept refugees in their states.

“This is utterly irresponsible for the governor to get out in front and accept, willingly, these Syrian refugees,” Rodne said, further noting that Americans need to rethink how they consider the people fleeing turmoil in Syria, where war has displaced millions.

“I think we need to take the term ‘refugee’ and define that further; I feel lot of these folks are economic migrants,” Rodne said. “To take significant numbers of these economic migrants, Syrian migrants, into Washington state where we cannot properly vet them &#8212 we know that ISIS had infiltrated the ranks of the migrants flooding into Europe right now.”

Rodne said the FBI has investigations in all 50 states that involve terrorist threats and ISIS activity, including Washington. Therefore, he argues, Governor Inslee should not be so open to refugees from hostile regions.

“It is absolute madness to adopt this policy,” Rodne said.

That’s a sentiment that Dori can agree with.

“Best case scenario, they are economic migrants. We’ve been told we have a homeless emergency in this area. Best case, we are contributing to the homeless emergency around here and they will have to come to us for a lot more tax dollars to deal with homelessness,” Dori said. “Worst case scenario is what we saw in Paris … that there is somebody who mingles with the economic migrants with intent to do us harm. I don’t understand how politicians can take that chance.”

Instead of taking in refugees in the United States, Rodne said, America should send efforts overseas.

“We could use our funds more wisely in helping to resettle and provide security for migrants and refugee camps in Syria and the Middle East … as opposed to using scarce state dollars to expand our social safety net here,” he said.

For a person to obtain refugee status and make their way to the United States, CNN reports, they first have to go through the United Nations, then a series of other channels and vetting processes that use multiple U.S. agencies from Homeland Security to the FBI and more. The process can take between 18-24 months, but likely longer for Syrians, and others from areas with heightened security concerns.

Dori Monson on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Washington rep.: ‘Utterly irresponsible’ to let Syrian refugees into state