Mayor, others at odds over refugees

Kasich says Ohio won’t take refugees, mayor says city will if asked

Congressman Mike Turner asks Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to “rescind” invitation for city to take in refugees.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the state will not take in any Syrian refugees, but Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley says the city will take in refugees if President Barack Obama’s administration asks for help.

Kasich said “there should be no more entry into this country at this point in time.”

“There is no way that we can put any of our people at risk by bringing people in at this point,” Kasich said. “Should anybody come in here before the end of the year? The answer to that should be no. We should not jeopardize our people. And so it’s not just an issue of the heart. It’s also an issue of the head.”

Other governors including those from Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Alabama, Texas and Arkansas are also not accepting refugees.

In response to the calls from governors to prevent Syrian refugees from coming to their states, Lavinia Limon, president and CEO of the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigration, said under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.

In September, Whaley joined mayors from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and 14 other U.S. cities who said they were willing to take in even more refugees than proposed by the Obama Administration.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, sent Whaley a letter asking her to “suspend your efforts to encourage the Obama Administration to resettle Syrian refugees in Dayton.”

“While Dayton is a welcoming city, in the wake of these deadly attacks and the tragic loss of lives, I urge you to prioritize the safety and security of our community and rescind your invitation to the Obama Administration to send Syrian refugees for relocation in Dayton, Ohio.”

Whaley said Monday the city will move forward with plans to take in refugees if asked by the federal government.

“In light of the Paris attacks, it is imperative that the Department of Homeland Security provide security guarantees to hosting communities, such as Dayton, regarding each individual seeking protection regardless of their home country,” Whaley said in a statement.

“The City of Dayton does not have a role in the resettlement process of refugees. Should the decision be made to place refugees from any country in the City of Dayton, we will continue to be a leader in the welcoming movement and will champion inclusive communities that enable all residents to thrive.”

Dayton Commissioner Matt Joseph said refugees go through an extensive screening process that often takes years to complete to ensure proper identification.

“Caution is called for, and we should take every precaution we can, but that probably doesn’t mean we should ignore the humanitarian emergency that’s happening and all the people who do need help legitimately,” Joseph said.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, said Monday that the city would not take in refugees.

“The City of Cincinnati will not be involved in Syrian resettlement. This is a federal, not a local issue. However, the actions of the federal government affect the safety of Cincinnatians, which is my highest concern. I understand the dire circumstances Syrian refugees face because I personally visited a refugee camp in Jordan last summer.”

Kasich spokesman Jim Lynch said Monday that the governor and presidential candidate is writing to President Barack Obama to ask him to stop resettling refugees from Syria in the state.

“I hope that perhaps the Congress can get involved in this and say we’re not going to do this,” Kasich said. “We cannot let people in here unless we know clearly who they are.”

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman said Obama should stop taking in Syrian refugees at the national level.

“I call on the Administration to immediately halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees into the United States until there has been a thorough review of DHS and State Department vetting procedures to ensure that no terrorists or individuals with links to Islamist extremist groups make it into the United States, as they have in France,” Portman said in a statement.

Kasich said that all sides need to be unanimous that we “cannot put ourselves at more risk.”

Kasich said that the president should establish a no-fly zone on Turkish and Jordanian borders. He also said “we got to make sure the Kurds have all they need.” He said they’ve been an “effective” fighting force against ISIS.

We will continue to update this story as it develops. You can watch Kasich’s interview here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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