UTC Professor Talks about Meaning of Govenors' Calls to Halt Accepting Syrian Refugees

Annie Tracy Samuel says many refugees leave home because they are fearing death, destruction, violence, kidnapping the murder of their family, or being caught in a bomb attack.

"The key thing a refugee from a migrant or a temporary worker is that the refugee has a lack of choice," she said. "The refugee is coming because they are fleeing actual or feared prosecution."

Tracy Samuel says many refugees are trying to flee regions threatened or controlled by ISIS. Syria is one of them.

"The refugee issue with people coming from the middle east has nothing to do with immigration," she said. "These are separate groups of people both literally and legally."

Refugees register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees then go through a rigorous vetting process.

In September the United States agreed to accept ten thousand refugees for the next fiscal year which started in October.

"Europe has taken many more than the United States have, but the U.S. has also provided a tremendous amount of financial aid," Tracy Samuel said.

Reports say 2,100 have already been brought here.

Now, in the wake of the Paris attack, many state leaders are calling for a halt in that process.

The investigation into the attacks, reveals one of the suicide bombers was a Syrian who entered Greece along with a wave of refugees.

He made his way to Paris with a fake or doctored passport.

The revelation has led to many governors across the country, including those in Tennessee and Georgia, saying they won't allow any more refugees into their states.

Tracy Samuel says, "Immigration is under the federal government not the state governments, so we will have to see what happens with their requests."

We asked Tracy Samuel if their requests from state leaders will generate any action.

She said, "We will have to see how the white house and federal levels respond to that. But as of today or tomorrow, nothing will immediately happen. It has to be a process of political working out."

Legal Policy Analyst Jon Freer says states can make things difficult by withholding state funding for services like job training and teaching English to the newly arrived refugees.

However, he says, "Ultimately legally, the federal government has the authority to put these refugees into the states and the states have very little say."

Tracy Samuel, "Time will tell. They cannot immediately say we are not accepting any more people and that is it."

State lawmakers are considering ways to see what kind of effect resettlement has on the state.

One Senate Republican is considering a bill to find out the cost of refugee resettlement in Tennessee while another proposal would check that all possible safeguards are in place.
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