HOUSTON (FOX 26) - More than a dozen U.S. governors have announced their states will not accept Syrian refugees including Texas Governor Greg Abbott. After Friday's deadly devastation in France, refugees running from Syria are being overwhelmingly rejected as many fear terrorists will come to town disguised as refugees.
”The bottom line is it's very difficult to vet these people, to check them out, to know who they are, to even know their ethnicity,” explains James Conway, president of Global Intel Strategies in Houston. Conway is a former FBI agent and terrorism expert. He says immigrants seeking refugee status are interviewed by the government and background checks are run but adds, ”I don't think there can be a really foolproof vetting process. We have gaps in our own vetting process of people who work for TSA and the military.”
Some people say rejecting refugees is allowing terrorists to win and they say so are all the threats and name calling against Muslims.
”When they're stereotyping and grouping all Muslims, they are actually playing right into the terrorists' playbook,” says Mustafaa Carroll with the Council on American-Islamic Relations Houston office. He also says terrorists continue their work by spreading fear and divisiveness.
“Terrorists expect the type of reaction that a lot of people in this country are giving," says Carroll. "They're going to be paranoid. They're going to mistreat Muslims,” which creates a ripe recruiting environment for terrorists.
”Consequently, you may have one or two who'll decide, 'Well, I'm going with them then. If you're going to treat us all the same, then let me be with the group that's going to defend us,' and they are misled because that group is not defending us. That group kills more Muslims.”
Interfaith Ministries in Houston released a statement on Monday saying refugee resettlement saves lives and says Texas should still accept those immigrants fleeing violence.