Full Text of Gov. Bentley's Letter to the President

Full Text of Gov. Bentley's Letter to the President

November 17, 2015

Dear President Obama,

Respectfully, I write to inform you that I have exercised by emergency powers as Governor to protect the citizens and property of the State of Alabama by signing Executive Order 14. This Executive Order directs Alabama's state agencies not to participate in the resettlement of Syrian refugees with the State of Alabama. Pursuant to this directive, Alabama will not participate in the relocation of Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program or otherwise accept Syrian refugees. A copy of my Executive Order is enclosed.

The threat posed by the Syrian refugees is foreseeable and real. The introduction of Syrian refugees in the United States without proper screening and follow-up monitoring could result in a threat to the citizens and property of Alabama. As Governor, I simply cannot expose my fellow Alabamians to the risk of accepting refugees from Syria, whose backgrounds cannot properly be checked to ensure national security. Testimony before Congress by the Director of the FBI acknowledges that the federal government does not have the background information necessary to effectively conduct security checks on Syrian nationals to vet those entering our borders. Director James B. Comey testified, "We can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing [that] show[s] up because we have no record of them.

The tragic attacks in Paris over the weekend resulted in the deaths of more than 120 people and harm to at least 350 others, conducted by Islamic extremists, at least one of whom is a recent Syrian refugee, both prompt and support my action to protect Alabama citizens. I will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people by accepting these refugees who may be connected to terrorism. Without a definitive means of confirming that these refugees are not connected to terrorist activities, I simply will not stand complicit to a policy that places Alabama citizens in harm's way.

For these reasons, Alabama will not participate in the resettlement of the Syrian refugees. Further, I ask you to reconsider your plans for resettlement of more Syrian refugees in the United States. The acts of terror committed over the weekend are a tragic reminder to the world that evil exists and takes the form of terrorists who seek to destroy the basic freedoms we will always fight to preserve. It is clear that the United States is not prepared to handle the resettlement of Syrian refugees, and one mistake by the Federal Government in allowing a refugee with a terrorist connection poses a major safety threat to our people. Failure to change course exposes millions of Americans to the possibility of terrorist acts on American soil.