Wednesday morning, Republicans called out the President and other elected officials such as Governors and Democratic candidates for President, for the plan to bring Syrian refugees into the United States. Under a plan by President Obama, the United States would take in about 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. Friday, though, terrorist attacks in Paris and their citizens may have changed those plans. Governors from 31 states have stated that the refugees are not wanted in those states, but in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf, (D), announced that Pennsylvania would still accept refugees and that the Commonwealth has already accepted Syrian refugees in Lancaster and Allentown.
Representing Pennsylvania in the Senate is Senator Robert Casey, (D), and Senator Pat Toomey (R). On Tuesday, Senator Casey announced that he agreed with President Obama and that, “Offering asylum for refugees, whatever conflict, they are fleeing, is consistent with our values and history. Casey continued that “We cannot turn our back on Syrian refugees. Turning them away on the basis of religion or ethnicity is inconsistent with our principles as a nation.” He stated that the “U.S. Government prioritizes admitting the most vulnerable Syrians, particularly female-headed households, children, survivors of torture, and individuals with severe medical conditions. In fact, of the 12 million Syrians displaced from their homes with half being children.”
On the other side of the aisle is Senator Pat Toomey. In an email to constituents and voters Toomey stated that “he is pushing to suspend the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States until we are able to determine, with full confidence, that there are no security risks among them. … If you agree with Senator Toomey, that nothing trumps the security of the American people.” Toomey also stated that “There is no reliable way of vetting those who come from these chaotic terrorist havens.” “People in that part of the world can fly under the radar,” he said. “If there’s no obvious red flag raised like military history or their own social media posts, then the bad guys can hide their true intention. It’s very, very hard for us to identify the radicals.” He said the refugee program should be suspended until the administration finds a better way to investigate them.
For local representation in the Delaware County area Representatives in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives James Santora (R) Senator Tom McGarrigle, (R), Representative Nick Miccarelli (R), State Senator Dominic Pileggi (R), Rep. William F. Adolph Jr. (R) and Rep. Thomas H. Killion (R) have all asked Governor Wolf to stop the influx of refugees until we know the background and if the evaluation that is used to screen candidates for refugee status is actually safe. They all signed a letter to the Governor asking that “With great urgency, we ask you to follow the lead of your fellow governors who have taken strong and decisive action to protect their citizens and to reverse your decision to accept Syrian refugees within Pennsylvania border.” In Upper Darby, Pennsylvania State Rep. Margo Davidson, (D) has not given a direct answer to the problem of the refugees, but in past actions she has followed the lead of the Democratic Governor Wolf.
In the letter to the Governor the Republican Representatives and Senate make the argument “that in addition to the unknown dangers to which your policy exposes Pennsylvanians, the acceptance of additional refugees within Pennsylvania’s border will impose costs on the taxpayers of Pennsylvania. According to Judicial Watch, the cost of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States will be about $650 million. The citizens of Pennsylvania should not have to bear the consequences of such a flawed national policy and your flawed state policy.”
In the research for this article those who were in favor of and those against, came down to party representation as how one’s representative felt about the issue. Republicans want time to figure out when and if we can take in refugees and the Democrats are following the President’s lead, that refugees are thoroughly checked and rechecked for security measure. How and when Syrian refugees are allowed to make the United States their home is still a question mark.