POLITICS

GOP Governor Admits He Doesn't Have Authority To Refuse Syrian Refugees

"We can only express our concerns."

WASHINGTON -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Tuesday admitted that, as much as he would like to bar Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, he doesn't have the power to do so.

"We don't have the authority," Kasich said at an event at the National Press Club in Washington. "We can only express our concerns."

Kasich recalled how one of his daughters, Reese, asked him why he did not want to allow Syrian refugees into the country.

"I said to my daughter, I said: 'Reesy, you know, we understand these people are in trouble. But think about us putting somebody in our street, in our town, in our country who mean us harm. We can't do that, can we Reesy?'"

The Republican presidential candidate joined dozens of his fellow governors on Monday in vowing to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees within their borders.

There's one problem, though: The Constitution vests the federal government, not the states, with authority over "immigration, naturalization and deportation." That means however vehemently the governors may object, it's not actually their call. (Anyway, some percentage of this hue and cry is almost certainly based on political calculation rather than genuine concern.)

President Barack Obama on Monday affirmed that the U.S. will continue resettling Syrian refugees -- accompanied by the proper, extensive vetting process. He asked people to "remember that many of these refugees are the victims of terrorism themselves."

"That's what they're fleeing," he said. "Slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own security. We can and must do both."

 

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