The State Department didn’t bother to inform Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of a plan to resettle refugees in his district, so he sent a letter last week demanding a halt to the plan until he and his constituents get answers.
Gowdy had to learn about the plan to open a refugee resettlement office in his South Carolina district through news reports. Gowdy is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, which has jurisdiction over refugee admission.
“As the Member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Spartanburg area, I am deeply concerned about the lack of notice, information, and consultation afforded to me and my constituents about this issue,” he said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.
He asked for answers to 17 questions, including how, why and when his district was approved, what steps were taken to notify local government officials and whether they approved the plan, and where funds for the office and the refugees will come from.
Other questions: When are the first refugees expected to arrive? What benefits are they entitled to? How many will be resettled? What is their country of origin? Who is responsible for housing, employment and education services for them? Will the local government need to provide interpreters for young students in school? Are background checks conducted on the refugees?
Gowdy requested a stop to implementation of the plan until he and his constituents are given sufficient answers to his questions and have a chance to review the information.
“As previously stated, I am troubled by the lack of notice and coordination with my office and the Spartanburg community, particularly local officials, regarding the plans to resettle refugees in the area,” he wrote. “In that vein, I request at least one month’s notice prior to the arrival of the first refugee in the Spartanburg area.”
An estimated 7 million Syrians are seeking refugee status, and hundreds have been welcomed into the U.S., reported Fox News. House Republicans have voiced concern terrorists could use the Obama administration’s plan to welcome some of the refugees as a way to enter the country.
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