Skip to main content

Dayton not against refugees coming to MN – but do governors have a choice?

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

The White House has a plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. next year, and that has not changed despite last week's terrorist attacks in Paris – where one of the suspected attackers may have entered France as a refugee, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Because of that, state governors across the U.S. are publicly announcing their support or objection to the plan.

That includes Minnesota's DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who according to FOX 9 issued a statement yesterday that says his "first priority" is making sure Minnesotans are safe, but did not refuse refugees coming to the state, saying:

“I have been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks of any category of traveler to the United States.”

That process can take anywhere from two months to years, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants explains, and includes being referred to a U.S. agency, an in-person interview with a U.S. officer, a family tree, approval and matching with a refugee resettlement organization, plus medical clearance and a security check that is more in-depth depending on the country of origin.

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, sent a letter to Dayton urging him to ask the White House to halt the refugee program, noting the FBI director recently testified there are gaps in the screening process.

26 governors in opposition

In Wisconsin, Republican Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement Monday his state "will not accept new Syrian refugees," and called on President Barack Obama to suspend the refugee program until it has been reviewed and deemed secure.

Walker is one of 26 governors to come out and say they will not accept, or are opposing, bringing Syrian refugees into their states, Buzzfeed reports. The majority of them, FiveThirtyEight found, are Republican.

According to the New York Times, the U.S. has accepted 1,854 Syrian refugees since 2012, with only a handful coming to Minnesota. Comparatively, Germany has taken in 92,991 Syrian refugees in that same time.

Can they actually do anything?

But here's a question: does it matter what these governors say, whether for or against accepting refugees?

Not really, according to ThinkProgress.

The political news site – which calls itself "progressive" but bipartisan – cites a couple of U.S. Supreme Court cases, as well as the Refugee Act of 1980, to explain how states really don't have a say in whether refugees come into the country.

States can make things difficult however by doing things like refusing to cooperate or cutting their own funding to the program, CNN reports. But the "overarching authority," one Penn State law professor told the station, rests with the federal government.

According to the Pioneer Press, Minnesota state Rep. Pat Garofalo, Republican from Farmington, made a similar point on his Facebook and posted an abbreviated version on Twitter.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 5.21.04 PM

Ex-South St. Paul coach dies by suicide 2 days before sentencing

Matthew McCollister was to be sentenced for fraud in federal court on Wednesday.

uawgitwa5lpcj158xkfx

Minnesota 'glampground' named one of 10 best in U.S.

In Nevis, Minnesota, campers can stay in a refurbished 1905 train car.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Two men charged over terrifying armed robbery at Newport apartment

They shot the woman who lives in the apartment in the abdomen, and put a gun to a man's head.

Minneapolis police

Minneapolis 2-year-old identified in suspicious death case

The cause of death has not yet been revealed due to an ongoing investigation.

Arianna Vos

Victim of wrong-way driver crash ID'd as Hutchinson 19-year-old

Three women, ages 19, 20 and 20, were in the vehicle struck by a wrong-way driver early Sunday morning.

Julissa Thaler

Eli Hart killing: Police investigating multiple crime scenes

An announcement Tuesday confirmed potential crime scenes in Mound and Minnetrista.

SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike.

Twin Cities mental health workers gather for 1-day strike

More than 400 mental health workers are participating in the unionized strike on Tuesday.

Bloomington Fire

HAZMAT team at Bloomington hotel following chemical spill in pool

The fire department said two hotel employees are being evaluated by paramedics.

Screen Shot 2022-03-24 at 9.21.32 AM

Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities gets $6M of Mackenzie Scott donation

The donation is the largest the organization has ever seen from a single individual.

Hennepin Avenue S.

Minneapolis accused of backtracking on 24/7 bus lanes for Hennepin Ave.

The Minneapolis City Council is set to vote on Thursday.

Pexels - face mask covid holding

Duluth brings back masking in city buildings amid COVID surge

Duluth, in one of the state's current COVID hotspots, has brought back a mask requirement in city buildings.

Related

Is Dayton the 'greatest education governor?'

The National Education Association just lauded Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton an “America’s Greatest Education Governor" award, in part for increasing school funding and focusing on early learning. But critics say he represents teachers unions more than students.