11.18.15

Daines, Zinke Urge Governor Bullock to Block the Relocation of Syrian Refugees to Montana

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Montana Senator Steve Daines and Representative Ryan Zinke today urged Montana Governor Steve Bullock to block any efforts from the federal government to move Syrian refugees to Montana until exhaustive and comprehensive background checks can be completed.

In a letter to Bullock, Daines and Zinke stressed the importance of prioritizing Montanans’ safety and security by refusing Syrian refugees until there is 100 percent confidence in these refugees’ backgrounds. At present, the state of Montana has not disallowed Syrian refugees from settling in Montana.

“We write to urge you to object to any efforts by the federal government to place Syrian refugees in Montana,” Daines and Zinke wrote. “Until the processes and methods used to screen potential refugees are thoroughly reviewed and a vastly improved background check protocol is implemented, we believe the risk is too great. We believe it is imperative that you object to President Obama's Syrian refugee proposal and direct the Human and Community Services Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to utilize any lawful means to prevent those refugees from being placed in the State of Montana.”

Daines and Zinke urged Bullock to join a majority of governors in acting to protect their states from potential security risks. 

“As Congress promptly moves to act on proposals to review and strengthen refugee vetting procedures, we ask that you prioritize the safety and security of Montanans and join the majority of governors from across this nation in resisting the placement of Syrian refugees in the state until security concerns are met,” Daines and Zinke continued.

Earlier this week, Daines and Zinke both announced their opposition to President Obama’s misguided plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to America.

In October, FBI Director James Comey testified before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that they “do see a risk” in the current vetting process for Syrian refugees entering the United States. During House Homeland Security Committee Hearings the FBI also admitted that they could not properly vet these individuals.  

Read the full text of the letter below or download it here: 

Dear Governor Bullock:

We write to urge you to object to any efforts by the federal government to place Syrian refugees in Montana. Until the processes and methods used to screen potential refugees are thoroughly reviewed and a vastly improved background check protocol is implemented, we believe the risk is too great.  While we have the deepest sympathies for those impacted by the conflict in Syria and the surrounding region, we strongly believe the President's proposal to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States unduly opens up our state and nation to unacceptable security risks. 

Following the recent tragic terrorist attacks in Paris, our offices have received thousands of calls, letters, and emails from Montanans expressing serious concerns regarding the security risk posed by accepting Syrian refugees into Montana. As Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey testified before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing this October, there are flaws and uncertainties in the current process conducted for allowing Syrian refugees to enter the United States. With that being the case, and without absolute confidence in the existing procedures being utilized to screen incoming refugees, we believe it is imperative that you object to President Obama's Syrian refugee proposal and direct the Human and Community Services Division of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services to utilize any lawful means to prevent those refugees from being placed in the State of Montana. 

As Congress promptly moves to act on proposals to review and strengthen refugee vetting procedures, we ask that you prioritize the safety and security of Montanans and join the majority of governors from across this nation in resisting the placement of Syrian refugees in the state until security concerns are met. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your prompt response on this critically important issue. 

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