In the wake of Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, France both Republican members of Montana’s expressed opposition on Monday to Syrian refugee resettlement within the United States and Montana. Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock emphasized that the safety of Montanans was his “top priority” in considering this issue.
U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke spoke out against possible refugee resettlement until there are better security measures in place for screening those refugees.
“Until we have the capability to complete comprehensive and exhaustive background checks on Syrian refugees before they reach our shores, the United States should immediately stop taking in new refugees from the region,” Daines stated. “We are at war with Islamic extremists and anything less than 100% verification of these refugees’ backgrounds puts our national security at risk.”
Rep. Zinke – a retired Navy SEAL – expressed similar sentiments and also pressed the U.S. House of Representatives to block an Obama Administration proposal to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the country.
“In light of the information that the terrorist attack on Paris was carried out in part by an ISIS terrorist embedded in the refugee population, I am calling on Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader McCarthy to bring legislation to the floor this week to stop the President’s dangerous plan to bring 180,000 refugees to the United States,” Zinke stated.
Zinke went on to point out in his statement that the majority of the refugees are military aged males and that “it is a significant security issue in that a background check is only as good as the authorities have information on them.”
While the governors of several other states have stated that their states will not take in Syrian refugees, Gov. Bullock stopped short of stating opposition to refugee resettlement, but stated there were “no requests” to resettle refugees in Montana, and that, should requests come, the safety of Montanans would be his top consideration.
“Montana will not allow any terrorist organization to intimidate us into abandoning our values. The safety of Montanans is my top priority. No Syrian refugees have been settled in the state and we have had no formal requests to do so.” Bullock said in a statement according to the Montana Television Network.
“We take all appropriate steps to ensure that the safety of Montanans will not be jeopardized by their placement. If there are safety concerns about any refugees that are requesting settlement, they will be denied,” the governor continued.
Concerns with Syrian are growing across Europe and North America after Friday’s attack in Paris that left 129 dead. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, and the United Kingdom’s Telegraph newspaper reported that French authorities found a fake Syrian refugee passport next to one of the suicide bombers in the wake of the attack, fueling speculation that the attacker entered Europe as a refugee.