Branstad on Syrian Refugees: We Don't Want to Become Like Europe

Nov 16, 2015

Update at 5:00pm: Late this afternoon, Gov. Branstad ordered all state agencies to stop any work on settlement of Syrian refugees.  

Original story: Several states are rethinking plans to accept refugees after the terrorist attacks in Paris. So far, Iowa is not among them.

Investigators say at least one of the Paris attackers slipped through Europe’s immigration system. 

Governor Branstad says the U.S. should not become like Europe which let in Syrian refugees and now is trying to round up ISIS militants.      

Some governors are putting on hold earlier offers to accept refugees.

“I share the concern of the other governors about the safety and well-being of our citizens after what happened in Paris,” Branstad says.  

The Governor of Michigan earlier called for accepting more refugees, but that is now on hold.  Illinois and 11 other states are also at least temporarily resisting acceptance of Syrian refugees.

Governor Branstad says it is up to the federal government whether or not to assign Syrian refugees to Iowa, and he hopes they keep the state informed on the issue.     

Branstad says without more careful vetting of refugees, the safety of Iowans is at stake.

“Even if they’re placed in another state, they’re free to move about the country and they could move here, Branstad says.  “That’s another danger we’re concerned about.”  

Branstad calls it a dangerous and delicate situation.

“If you listen to what ISIS has said, we are just as big a target as the Europeans,” Branstad says.

Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley has sponsored legislation to beef up vetting of refugees.