HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said on Monday that Syrian refugees are welcome in the Aloha State.
French authorities say at least one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris terrorist attacks managed to get into Europe by pretending to be a Syrian refugee. Nearly 130 people were killed. As of Tuesday, 29 Republican governors and one Democrat had asked for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to be stopped until security concerns can be addressed.
In a statement on his official website, Ige commented:
“Our first priority is the safety of the American people, including the people of the State of Hawai’i.
“The U.S. accepts refugees, including Syrians, only after they are subjected to the most vigorous and highest level of screening and security vetting.
“As President Obama has said — slamming the door in their face would be a betrayal of our values. Hawai’i and our nation have a long history of welcoming refugees impacted by war and oppression. Hawai’i is the Aloha State, known for its tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect.
“I am confident that our state will work closely with the federal government to ensure that appropriate resources and support are available before any refugees arrive in Hawai’i.”
In related news, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Iraq War veteran and a member of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said Wednesday, “I understand the concerns many have expressed after last week’s brutal terrorist attacks, but we can’t let ISIS dictate the terms of war. Sending the signal that innocent victims fleeing the brutality of the Syrian civil war are not welcome in the United States plays right into our enemy’s hands. It empowers and emboldens radicals who want nothing more than for us to conflate their twisted barbarism with the entire Muslim world, and to appear indifferent to human suffering as we turn inward.
“Ultimately, this poses a threat to our national security. This is a time for the United States to lead with strength, not fear.”