November 17, 2015

HARTFORD — With the announcement of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy that he intends to receive 1,600 refugees fleeing violence in Syria, State Representative Rob Sampson (R-80) and Senator Joe Markley (R-16) have called for a reversal of that decision in consideration of public safety concerns. Noting the inability of the state to properly screen these incoming refugees, and the heightened security concerns raised by Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, France, they say it is unwise for Connecticut to accept the refugees at this time.

“The first and most important duty of government is public safety,” said Rep. Sampson. “We know that some of those who committed the atrocities in Paris last Friday arrived there masquerading as refugees from Syria. But setting aside the concern of terrorism, there are other concerns. We have no way of properly vetting these individuals to ensure they are who they say they are, that they do not have criminal histories, and that they are not carrying communicable diseases that could be spread. That is the purpose of a federal immigration policy – to make those determinations.”

“This is a clear example of Governor Malloy ignoring the wishes of the people of the State of Connecticut. I have heard from dozens of people today expressing their concern and disapproval of his decision. This is a matter of public safety and the Governor needs to put our safety and security first.”

Both legislators acknowledged and support the status of the United States as a nation of immigrants, but say we are also a nation of laws.

“One of the greatest strengths of the United States has been the diversity that results from being a nation truly made of immigrants,” said Sampson. “However, we must make certain that our compassion does not make us more vulnerable. When the Governor says he wants to welcome these refugees, I doubt, in a state still struggling to properly process DMV licenses,

that we have the capacity to properly review these individuals and evaluate the threat they do or do not pose once here. The Governor rightly notes that America has a big heart. We must also remember that America has a big target on it from extremists meaning to do our citizens harm.”

They noted that a bipartisan group of half the nation’s governors have made the right decision for their residents by turning these refugees away. They urged the Governor to reconsider and follow their wise policies.

“While the Governor has made his declaration, the real power rests with federal authorities,” said Markley. “We need the President and his administration to start enforcing the immigration laws we have on the books instead of selectively enforcing the law in a way that advances their agenda.”

Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the President has authority to admit refugees from foreign nations who face persecution. Should the President choose to accept these refugees under this legal pretext, he has an obligation to ensure the safety of Americans is preserved, Sampson said.

Sampson and Markley indicated that they will be drafting a letter to the Governor voicing their concerns, and will be asking other members of their regional state legislative delegation to sign on.