HARRISBURG, PA − November 24, 2015 − State Senator Art Haywood made the following statement after the passage of SR 248 in the Pennsylvania Senate:
“Today I voted against Senate Resolution 248, which urges state and federal leadership to close our commonwealth’s doors to Syrian refugees. As Governor Wolf has made clear, states do not have the authority to refuse to accept refugees. The federal government, which does have this authority, already has an extensive and thorough vetting process for refugees applying to resettle in the United States. While no process is completely without risk, refugees receive the highest level of security screening, including an in-person interview and a full health and biometric screening. Already involved in this process are the National Counterterrorism Center, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense.
I support Governor Wolf’s decision to direct the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and Office of Homeland Security to review the federal government’s refugee screening process and to make recommendations that may strengthen the rigorous system already in place. At the same time, I oppose SR 248, which is an attempt to exclude refugees in desperate need of a home from resettling in Pennsylvania. There is no evidence that our current refugee resettlement process leaves Pennsylvanians in danger, and there is much evidence that refugees contribute greatly to our commonwealth. SR 248 is a misguided resolution based on fear and not facts.”
Contact: Melissa Ostroff