Guadagno: ‘We shouldn’t be accepting refugees from anywhere’
On Nov. 17, Gov. Chris Christie sent a letter to President Barack Obama to notify him that New Jersey would not be accepting refugees from Syria in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. That led debate over whether New Jersey or any other state had that authority.
Following a speech in Atlantic City before the New Jersey State League of Municipalities on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno agreed with her boss’s position and went even further.
“The governor wrote a letter the other day that said that until the Syrian refugees were properly vetted that they would not be allowed into New Jersey,” Guadagno said. “Federal law says that they can come to New Jersey, but we simply won’t be providing them with resources.”
In an interview with reporters following her speech, the Lt. Governor was asked bluntly if she agreed with Christie’s stance taken in his letter to the president and that was when she took it to another level.
“Yes, I agree. Even the head of the FBI (Director James Comey) has said that our vetting process is flawed and until that process is fixed and I believe it can be fixed, until that process is fixed though we shouldn’t be accepting refugees from anywhere,” Guadagno said.
Also on Thursday, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly (289-137) to tighten background checks and security screenings for Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to America. New Jersey Congressman Donald Norcross (D-01) voted in favor of the SAFE Act of 2015.
“Our nation’s safety and security comes first. It’s especially urgent considering the deadly attacks in Paris that remind us of our own history with terrorism. My heart aches for any refugee fleeing violence in their war torn homeland. And true to the American spirit, we will continue to welcome them to our shores while making every effort to ensure the security of the American people,” said Norcross in an emailed statement.
The day Christie fired off his letter to the president, Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto (D-Secaucus) released a statement of his own in which he said orphaned children pose no threat to America.
"No matter our political beliefs, no matter our principles, it's imperative we never forget the idea that whatever we do for the least among us, we do for ourselves,” wrote Prieto. "Gov. Christie has forgotten this most American of ideals. What Gov. Christie is saying goes against everything America is about.”
Kevin McArdle has covered the State House for New Jersey 101.5 news since 2002. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter at @kevinmcardle1.