Reaction swift after call to ban Syrian refugees from Florida

FLORIDA (WFLA) – President Obama is pledging to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the year ahead, with some of them coming to Florida and the Tampa Bay area.

Magda Saleh is the president of a charity that helps Islamic and Arabic-speaking refugees. She said talk of keeping Syrians out doesn’t make sense. “They’re not a majority in any sense of the word. And they are vetted by the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), and they go through a level 2 background screening before they are allowed in, so I don’t that there’s a chance that anybody who’d come here would be a risk to the country,” Saleh said.

Governor Rick Scott wrote federal legislators Monday, saying our state agency, which is the Department of Children and Families, will not support the requests that have been received.

He wants Congress to prevent the president from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation of up to 425 Syrian refugees.

The governor has received some support. “Based on what we’ve seen now, the Obama administration is not prudent. They’re not vigilant. They’re taking a risk. I believe that’s unnecessary, and we ought to be cautious and careful in Florida and say, ‘No thanks,’” Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said.

But, Syrian-American Saleh Mubarak said nations, including the U.S., need to help. “For those refugees, we know them and we worked with them. Most of them are very, very non-violent people who just want to have a decent living,” Mubarak said.

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