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2024 Montana Primary elections
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Republicans Seek To Block Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees

Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (3 August 2012).
Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo, Syria (3 August 2012).

Republican lawmakers are taking steps to keep Syrian refugees out of Montana, and the rest of the country as well. Meanwhile the governor says it’s a moot point, for the time being.

Reacting to the news that one of the gunmen in last weekend's Paris attacks carried a Syrian passport, at least a dozen states say they’ll try to block any resettlement of Syrian refugees. Republican Montana Senator Steve Daines has written to President Obama, calling for a halt to all refugees coming from the middle east, until “exhaustive background checks” are in place. Congressman Ryan Zinke, also a Republican, is co-sponsoring a bill to subject all refugee applicants to FBI screening.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock, a Democrat, issued a statement aimed at reassuring those worried about potential terrorists. Bullock says at the moment, there are no plans to bring any Syrians to Montana. He says the state is reviewing its protocols covering refugee resettlement, and if any applicants for resettlement pose a security risk, they will be denied.

Idaho’s governor has also called for a halt to resettlements pending background checks, while Washington’s governor says refugees are welcome in his state, regardless of their origin or their religion.

President Obama pledged to accept up to 10,000 refugees from war-torn Syria, but that was before a possible refugee was linked to the attacks in Paris.

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