Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Should Utah Refuse Syrian Refugees?

utahpolicy ksl 400 wide smaLast week Gov. Gary Herbert broke ranks with other Republican governors around the country, saying Utah would not refuse to take Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris. Our “Political Insiders” mostly agree with his stance.

The reluctance to allow refugees from Syria is largely symbolic as an individual state cannot refuse to admit refugees. Herbert says he is for a stricter vetting process for any refugees fleeing Syria entering the country. A majority of all the groups in our survey agree with him, including 58% of Republicans, 96% of Democrats and 81% of our readers.


Selected anonymous comments:

“If you want to know what really makes someone tick, what is in their heart of hearts, don’t ask them if they are conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. Just ask them to give you their gut reaction of whether we should accept Syrian refugees right now. The visceral reactions to this question (on both sides) have been fascinating.”

“There is no reason to refuse refugees from Syria. There are plenty of protections already in place to deal with safety concerns. I was very disappointed in the vote of our congressional delegation.”

“Allowing these people in without an effective vetting process is insane! But then why should the government doing something insane surprise anyone?”
“Utah was settled by immigrants. We cannot turn our backs on these refugees. But we must ensure that they are carefully vetted.”
“These are not women and children; these are men ages 18 to 35 who have been raised as anti-American, anti-Israeli, pro-suicide bombing, Muslim fanatics. What could go wrong?”
“Gov. Herbert is making an informed decision, and he should be applauded. He’s living up to the moral code so many of his counterparts espouse, then ignore. While security concerns shouldn’t be ignored (and they won’t be), not allowing the refugees to settle in Utah allows Daesh a victory. We shouldn’t forget what makes America great!”
“The FBI and Homeland Security say there is no way to vet them because there are no records. Syria is a failed state, and there is no database with fingerprints to compare information to. I say CLOSE THE BORDER until we can verify the safety to U.S. citizens of immigrants coming into the U.S. and that includes our borders to the North and South!”
“Blocking refugees is the perfect example of an uninformed, knee-jerk reaction.”
“They should be welcome here. Weren’t Mormons refugees when they settled here in the 19th Century?”
“The governor showed why he is the right man for the job. Nothing would have been easier or more politically expedient than running with the angry mob. One of his greatest strengths is something we should all appreciate in an elected official: a strong understanding and respect for the limitations of his authority. Rather than scoring cheap political points, the governor is determined to balance the need to protect public safety with Utah’s hallmark compassion for those who need us most. While there are only 12 Syrian refugees living in our state at this time, there are far more Utahns who descend from that part of the world and who rightly see the refugees as brothers and sisters in need. This is a feather in Utah’s cap.”
“Kudos to Governor Herbert for taking a rationale approach by acknowledging public safety concerns while showing compassion to the millions of Syrian refugees, mostly women and children. Once again the Governor has avoided the political pandering that results in the gridlock prevalent in Washington DC.”
“For what is surely one of only a few times, I agree with the Governor. Do everything you can to ensure our safety. But you know what? Real refugees are fleeing from those same terrorists that we’re afraid of. It’s our duty to help any way we can.”
“Why was Utah be okay with accepting Somali refugees but then would refuse Syrian refugees? Both come from Muslim countries engaged in civil war. Somalia has Al-Shabab and Syria has ISIS/ISIL. To not accept Syrian refugees is letting the terrorists win.”
“He could man up and do something like the 23 other Governors who are more concerned about their citizens than federal dollars.”
“It’s surprising how quickly and widely a stupid, un-American idea can spread in the conservative echo chamber.”
“Prevent, no. We are a country of immigrants where the ‘tired, the poor, the hungry masses yearning to be free’ should continue to be welcome. More carefully screen, perhaps yes. But any screening must not deny because of religion or belief, only seeking to identify clear risks to national security.”
“When as Republicans have we ever trusted the federal govt to do something right? Now we all of a sudden trust them to let a group of people into our state that clearly have issues?”
“Until they are vetted properly, they should not come here. Homeland apparently does not have the resources to perform proper vetting.”
“We have a responsibility to help others. As Americans, Christians, Mormons, women, whatever. Compassion toward others is important. Also, I just don’t believe that refugees are our biggest threat in regards to radical jihadists. Only ONE of those attackers in Paris posed as a refugee (at least of what they’ve found). Some of them were Frenchmen and Belgians! Sure there is a risk of ISIS getting through via refugee status but the threat is already here… ISIS recruits all over. Utah can send a powerful message to the world; terrorists will not stop us from being compassionate.”
“Here’s a chance for Herbert and the rest of us who call Utah home to show a little moral courage. It’s not the time to wimp out; that’s exactly what the terrorists think we decadent Westerners will do.”
“Compassion is a good thing, but security first.”
“We need to be careful, and vigilant. And kind.”
“I think we should have in place an adequate vetting process before we proceed. Also, if you slow the flow it might put some pressure on the Syrian government to clean up their act.”
“Housing and health care for our veterans and citizens first. If you believe that we have already solved our homeless problem, take a walk around the shelters in SLC.”
“Gov. Herbert sounds like the only grown-up in the room. I appreciate he is relying on facts not fear and isn’t trying to win votes with meaningless sound bites.”
“No, blocking refugees is foolish. The US has taken in refugees from all manner of conflicts over the years, including civil wars, and hasn’t been in danger from the refugees of those wars at all. So why should the Syrian refugees be any different?”
“We have the most extensive vetting process two yeras before they set foot on our soil. Let’s not turn the refugees into political footballs.”

“Herbert is showing some backbone here. Congrats, he’s right on this one.”
“We should be living our Christianity – not just on Sundays.”