Like many concerned citizens I wrote a letter to Gov. Steve Bullock about the Syrian refugee situation. The form letter I and others received in response was less than reassuring.
Firstly, he said that no “formal requests had been made to bring refugees into the state.” Now we learn the I.R.C. will be reopening its office in Missoula. Once again, the people express their views. Once again, the government ignores us.
The form letter also stated that immigration is in federal hands, the states have no say in it. In fact, the Constitution, in Article 1 sec. 8, states that one of the powers of Congress (not the executive branch) is “to establish a uniform code of naturalization.” In other words, a consistent set of laws about becoming a U.S. citizen, not about importing foreigners into the various states. Therefore the 10th amendment says that we have the right to decide. Any Constitutional scholars in the house? (Comments from Tim Fox would be appreciated.)
The governor stated that the vetting process took years, and he even reviewed their protocols to reassure himself of its effectiveness. Yet F.B.I Assistant Director Michael Steinbach said, “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet … You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that is — does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets — the police, the intel services — that normally you would go to seek information don’t exist.”
This letter also stated that 50 percent of refugees were rejected, because of the difficult vetting process. Actually Barbara Strack, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, Refugee Affairs Division, stated that the figure is only 10 percent rejection. So this letter is also inaccurate.
Our elected officials are welcome to their opinions, but when the majority of Montanans have stated they are against the refugees, it is the duty of those officials to represent us.
Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.