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Mitch Perry Report for 11.17.15 — No Syrian refugees, please

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The revelation that one of the men involved in the terrorist attacks in Paris entered Europe with a Syrian passport was enough evidence to convince 23 governors (all Republican, with the exception of New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan, involved in a tight bid for re-election) yesterday to say that they don’t want the federal government to expatriate any Syrian refugees into their respective states.

The Syrian war has gone on since 2011, and has been a tragedy from the start, with over 250,000 people killed in the conflict. There are over 4 millions refugees that have had to go to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and in the past year, to Germany and other European states. It’s been a mess, and Russia’s recent intervention has only made things more complicated.

The European migrant crisis has become explosive this past summer, and the U.S. has offered to take in 10,000 such refugees.

Contrast that with Germany, which expects to receive 800,000 asylum applications this year and has already pledged to take in 35,000 refugees. Or France, which has agreed to take 26,000. Or Spain, which vowed to shelter 16,000.

But the backlash has begun. Coincidentally, many of the states objecting are the same ones who went to court to block his plan last year to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation.

It’s important to note that not everybody wants to reject Syrian refugees. Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley stands by his call for the country to take in 65,000 such people. “There are women, there are children dying,” O’Malley told The Des Moines Register on Monday. “They are fleeing the same sort of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France and the violence that brought down that (Russian) airliner (over Egypt.) I don’t think it’s too much to ask of us that we do our part here.”

Is it? While the concerns about single men may be valid, there are lots of children and women looking for a place to live.

That’s not good enough for Chris Christie, who told Hugh Hewitt yesterday that he didn’t trust the Obama administration’s vetting process, saying,  “The fact is that we need appropriate vetting, and I don’t think orphans under 5 should be admitted into the United States at this point.”

The issue moves to Capitol Hill this week, where the House Judiciary Committee will hold a subcommittee hearing on Syria’s refugee crisis and its implications for American national security.

In other news …

ACLU and the Council on American Islamic Relations condemned Governor Scott for his request to deny Syrian refugees from coming to Florida.

Hours before Governor Scott said no Syrian refugees were welcomed to Florida, he was able to lure Bob Buckhorn to sign off on his controversial plan to ask for lot more money for the Legislature to fund Enterprise Florida.

Lieutenant Governor and GOP Senate candidate Carlos Lopez-Cantera backs his boss and says Florida doesn’t want any Syrian refugees.

After hearing President Obama’s statement from Turkey yesterday that he doesn’t plan on doing anything radically to different to combat the Islamic State, Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly said he was “beyond disappointment.”

And the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority is poised to sign a contract with Yellow Cab to help them with their paratransit service. 

With some of the overtop remarks in the wake of Paris, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted the Republican candidates, saying they’d gone too far in some cases.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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