SALEM — Gov. Kate Brown announced on Twitter Tuesday that Oregon will continue to accept refugees after a suspect in the Paris attacks was found to possess a Syrian passport.
The governor had declined to comment Monday on her position on accepting refugees from the war-torn Middle Eastern country, where ISIS has taken a foothold.
“Clearly, Oregon will continue to accept refugees,” Brown tweeted. “They seek safe haven, and we will continue to open the doors of opportunity to them. The words of the Statue of Liberty apply in Oregon just as they do in every other state.”
Brown’s position contrasts with that of at least 27 governors, mostly Republicans, who say they want to block more Syrian refugees from entering their states, according to several media reports.
Governors have no authority to reject Syrian refugees but could seek to reduce state services provided to the newcomers. The federal government decides immigration policy. President Barack Obama recently announced that the United States would accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year
Only one Syrian refugee to date has settled in Oregon, according to the state Department of Human Services.
Republicans, including state Rep. Bill Post, R-Keizer, had pressed the Democratic governor for an answer. Brown sent a letter and a FAQ sheet to Post Tuesday outlining her position.
“I am glad that she shares my concern for the welfare of those being persecuted for their religious beliefs and that the United States and Oregon can be a safe place for them,” Post said in a statement. “I also hope that she will regularly confer with federal authorities as well as other governors on the implementation of the screening process.
“My biggest concern is for the safety of Oregonians and it appears that this will be handled by the Department of Human Services. I hope that DHS will report to the Legislature and the people of Oregon on their vetting process as we move forward in this situation.”
The Capital Bureau is a collaboration between EO Media Group and Pamplin Media Group.