Snyder to McAuliffe: Time To Stop Syrian Refugees From Entering Virginia

snyder_600pxThe United States of America has a big heart and so does the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are the most generous and tolerant nation in the history of the world. This generosity and tolerance can be measured by what Americans give philanthropically, by the vast and deep support we provide for other nations and causes, and by our freedoms. Thanks to our Constitution, our rights and civil liberties as U.S. citizens are the envy of the world. These are indisputable facts.

This weekend, millions of Virginians turned their eyes and hearts towards Paris as they watched in horror, footage of the murderous attacks by radical Islamists followed closely by sickening boasts claiming responsibility for the killing sprees. French authorities believe that a Syrian “refugee” appears to have been an active participant in the attacks. This morning DAESH informed the world that their next target would be in our own homeland – in fact on our front door — in Washington, DC.

The threat to the Commonwealth of Virginia and to the United States is clear and present. FBI Director James Comey testified to Congress that the federal government simply does not have the background information necessary to conduct proper security checks on alleged Syrian refugees. As the FBI Director explained: “We can query our database until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of them.” Further, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson stated, “One of the challenges that we will have is that we’re not going to know a whole lot about the individual refugees that come forward from the UN High Commission on Refugees for Resettlement and Vetting.”

That is why today I call on Governor McAuliffe to demand that President Obama halt any efforts to allow Syrian refugees into the Commonwealth of Virginia. I ask every other elected official in the Commonwealth to do the same until our Governor, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the FBI Director can guarantee that not a single “refugee” entering our Commonwealth is tied to radical Islam or terrorist activities. We cannot willingly allow what happened in France to happen here at home.

Virginia was founded and created by immigrants. So many of our ancestors came here seeking new opportunities, as well as escaping political and religious oppression, to create new lives for themselves. Orderly and legal immigration is one of our nation’s greatest strengths and one of the driving forces of Virginia’s economy. And it should and will remain so.

But in the wake of these latest threats from radical Islamists and DAESH aimed at our region, we simply cannot afford to put the safety and security of Virginians at risk. I ask all Virginians to demand that Governor Terry McAuliffe tell President Obama to suspend the flow of Syrian refugees into the U.S. until we can be confident that the proper security measures are in place to effectively guarantee against threats to not only the citizens of our Commonwealth, but the entire country.

Our prayers are with Paris and may God continue to bless America,

Pete Snyder is chairman of the Disruptor Fund and a former candidate for Virginia Lieutenant Governor.

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