Hickenlooper: Colo. Won't Say No To Syrian Refugees, But Verification Must Be 'Stringent'
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Colorado would accept Syrian refugees. President Barack Obama said the U.S. would receive at least 10,000 Syrian refugees within the next year, but a growing list of Republican governors pledged to block refugees from relocating to their states.
"We can protect our security and provide a place where the world's most vulnerable can rebuild their lives," said Hickenlooper in a statement.
Governors in about a dozen states such as Texas, Louisiana and Florida are opposed to refugee resettlement in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and said it's irresponsible. According to WLRN, a public radio station in Miami, Florida had been housing the vast majority of Syrian refugees that entered the country, so this marks a change in policy.
Hickenlooper's staff said Syrian refugees from the current crisis have not resettled in Colorado but that could change, as long as the vetting is robust.
"Our first priority remains the safety of our residents," Hickenlooper's statement continued. "We will work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure the national verification processes for refugees are as stringent as possible."
It remains unclear how many refugees might come to Colorado. The current vetting process takes 18 months to two years so it wouldn't happen until 2017 at the earliest.