The state of Connecticut will continue to accept refugees from Syria, Gov. Dannel Malloy told NBC Connecticut on Monday morning. This comes as governors in several other states announced they would stop accepting them.
In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, criticism from American politicians has mounted to end the flow of refugees coming from war-torn Syria.
Several news outlets reported over the weekend that one Paris attacker had moved through Greece on his way to France as a refugee.
Malloy downplayed any security threat from incoming refugees, describing them as "a small number" and added they were, "a number over which you could do a lot of security background checks and that sort of thing.”
Malloy said he is monitoring the state's transit hubs, like train stations and Bradley Airport, and said travelers could expect to see heightened presences in some places.
"We should be safe," Malloy said. "On the other hand, America has always had a big heart."
The governor said he was confident that security steps have been taken to ensure Connecticut and American safety.
"The security work is being done … and I think the people who are coming here are political refugees as opposed to the folks who kind of, have gotten to Europe,” he said.
Devon Puglia, the communications director for Malloy, issued a statement.
“Obviously in light of the tragedy in Paris, we have questions about the Department of Homeland Security’s screening measures for refugees entering our country. We are continuing to work with and await guidance from the appropriate federal agencies on screening measures that will be taken. With that said, if refugees – many who are children fleeing a horrific, war-torn country – seek and are granted asylum after a rigorous security process, we should and will welcome them in Connecticut,” he said in an emailed statement.
House Republican Leader Themis Klarides released a statement, calling for any plan to allow refugees to come to Connecticut to be fully vetted publicly before it’s put into effect.
"We cannot rely solely on people at the federal level to tell us who should be allowed in and where they would be housed - we need to hear from Connecticut’s own experts to come up with a safe, secure plan," Klarides said in a statement.
“One year ago the federal government approached the Malloy administration about housing 2,000 Mexican immigrants at the Southbury Training School but that approach was rejected for a variety of reasons,’’ Klarides said in the statement. "I am curious as to whether Governor Malloy’s position has changed with respect to Connecticut’s ability to accommodate a relatively large group of these people."
The Obama administration expects to take in about 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year. It's unclear how many could end up in Connecticut.