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In the aftermath of Paris, how will California move forward with refugees?

A Syrian refugee child eats food which her mother collected from rubbish in the Eminonu disctrict of Istanbul.
A Syrian refugee child eats food which her mother collected from rubbish in the Eminonu disctrict of Istanbul.
Bulent Kilic /AFP/Getty Images

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In the aftermath of the Paris attacks some U.S. governors are threatening to block efforts to relocate Syrian refugees in their states. Gov. Jerry Brown says that California will follow President Barack Obama’s lead and will remain committed to accepting Syrian refugees while ensuring a thorough and secure vetting process for these refugees.

Representative and Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., called in to Take Two to further explain California’s stance when it comes to Syrian refugees.

“It’s in the country’s long standing and proud tradition that we don’t turn our back on people in need during times of crisis. So we ought to do our part,” said Schiff.

In regards to those governors that say that will stop the process to accept Syrian refugees, Schiff is doubtful that states have the authority to do that. “I don’t think [these states] have the power to say that someone who has been admitted to the U.S. as a refugee can’t come to their state,” he said.

According to Schiff, the initial reactions from these governors is not thought out.

“In many ways this very quick reaction reminds me a bit of the aftermath of the Ebola scare, when we had some of the same governors saying we’re not going to accept health care workers who have returned who are risking their lives. That was very ill-thought out and I think similarly this initial reaction will pass,” he said.

While the representative says much of these reactions to refugees are politicized, he stresses that this should not be viewed as a partisan issue. Schiff concluded:

What we’re looking at here in the United States is not the same as what is taking place in Europe. In Europe you have hundreds of thousands of people coursing through the streets looking for a safe place, without the ability to really vet those refugees. That is not what is being proposed for the United States. We are proposing a very intensive and individualized vetting process for the refugees. So even if one of the attackers in Paris came into the refugee program amidst that flood of refugees we are doing everything possible to make sure that does not happen here.

Martin Zogg, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Los Angeles, discussed the refugees that are already in the U.S. The IRC helps refugees resettle once they’ve made it into the country. You can listen to his conversation with host A Martinez in the bonus audio above.