Ricketts urges resettlement agencies not to...

Posted at 8:20 AM, Nov 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-18 09:20:14-05

Governor Pete Ricketts says so far no Syrian refugees have been settled in our state and he would like it to stay that way until security concerns have been fully addressed.

“The events in Paris demonstrated that we have to be concerned about what is going on in the Middle East and with ISIS.  We need to make sure we are taking the steps necessary here at home to protect ourselves," said Governor Pete Ricketts. 

Authorities say one of the suspects believed to be involved in the Paris terrorist attacks entered Europe among a group of Syrian refugees.  This announcement prompted dozens of governors to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees to come to their states, including Nebraska.

“We certainly don't want to be reactive and have an incident first, we want to take proactive steps to do the best job we can to protect our citizens,” said Ricketts.

Governor Pete Ricketts says he doesn’t want any Syrian refugees in our state until he is aware of the vetting process for these refugees.

“This is something that we have to have a better feel for of what those vetting processes are.  The state ought to be involved in that,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts says for the time being he is only focused on blocking borders for Syrian refugees.

“Right now I would say that we want to start with the Syrian refugees, because of ISIS being directly related to the war in Syria,” said Ricketts.

Ricketts knows he doesn’t have legal authority to block Nebraska’s borders.  He says that is why he wrote the letter to the resettlement agencies asking them not to accept any Syrian Refugees.  State agencies have authority to make the process of accepting refugees much more difficult. 

“We don't have any agencies currently participating in the Syrian refugee program, but some of the agencies say they're willing to honor our requests until we get more info in regards to security,” said Ricketts.

President Obama is holding firm to his plan to allow at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the US over the next year.