Obama administration officials tried to reassure dozens of wary governors in a closed-door meeting that President Obama’s proposal to relocate Middle Eastern refugees in their states is safe, two governors said Monday.
The briefing by senior administration officials last weekend was an effort to “find solutions to some misunderstandings and apprehensions that are out there,” said Gov. Gary Herbert, Utah Republican and chairman of the National Governors Association.
Asked whether the meeting eased states’ concerns about accepting refugees from crisis areas such as Syria and Iraq, Mr. Herbert replied, “We still have work to do.”
After Mr. Obama announced his plan last fall to admit up to 10,000 refugees into the U.S. this year, governors of 30 states from Maine to Wyoming publicly asked for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to stop until security concerns and procedures could be addressed. New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan was the lone Democrat in the group.
The resistance to refugees intensified after Islamist terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, which raised fears of Islamic State fighters sneaking into the U.S. as refugees.