FAIRFAX, Va. — Four Virginia delegates are calling on Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to refuse Syrian refugee resettlements in Virginia for a two year period, in wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
Virginia House of Delegates Majority Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R), Deputy Majority Leader Todd Gilbert (R), Delegate Greg Habeeb (R), and Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R) will officially introduce legislation in the 2016 General Assembly session.
The legislation will be aimed at prohibiting state agencies from assisting in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Virginia for the next two years.
“This legislation is being proposed in response to recent terrorist attacks in France, as we have seen radicals use the refugee crisis as a means to enter other countries,” said Delegate Hugo. “Before we can allow further resettlement in Virginia, we must have full confidence in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and its procedures. Virginia is a welcoming state, but our first priority is the safety of our citizens.”
Virginia House of Delegates Majority Caucus Chairman Tim Hugo (R)
Since the terrorist attacks in Paris, the governors of at least 15 states have announced they will not accept Syrian refugees. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Massachusetts among others.
Only 1,500 Syrian refugees have been accepted into the United States since 2011, but the Obama administration announced in September that 10,000 Syrians will be allowed entry next year. According to the United Nations, Syrians are now the world’s largest refugee population.
According to CNN, more than 250,000 people have died since the violence broke out in Syria in 2011, and at least 11 million people in the country of 22 million have fled their homes.
Delegate Greg Habeeb said he would also like McAuliffe to urge the President cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States for the time being.
“It is important to recognize that many of these refugees are fleeing atrocities very similar to those that were on display recently in Paris. However, our first and foremost responsibility is to the citizens of Virginia,” said Delegate Habeeb. “It is imperative that Governor McAuliffe stand up for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia and call on President Obama to cease the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States unless and until we can be assured that they pose no security risk. Second, the Governor should immediately cut off all funding currently being used to resettle Syrian refugees in Virginia.”