Under the Dome

White House offers governors more details on refugees

The White House is proposing several steps to address concerns raised by more than half the nation’s governors, including North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, over the adequacy of screening refugees resettled in the U.S.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, in a letter dated Monday, emphasized that the governors were told in a Nov. 17 conference call how the vetting process works and that the administration thinks it is “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive.” Additional precautions have been applied for Syrian refugees, he said.

However, to reassure the governors, McDonough said he proposes to establish a process for them to obtain additional information tailored to their states about the refugees who are resettled during the prior month and the fiscal year to date. The information would be available through a password-protected website.

McDonough said the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will further brief governors on the process, and will discuss ways to improve communication at the next National Governors Association meeting.

Twenty-seven governors had written to President Obama last month saying they wanted to halt the resettlement program until they were satisfied that terrorists couldn’t slip into the country. It already takes up to two years to be resettled here and it is much easier for terrorists to simply fly into this country from European nations than to go through the refugee program.

McCrory and public safety Secretary Frank Perry publicly repeated those concerns and also said there was poor communication among state and federal agencies on the issue.

The Obama administration has planned to bring at least 10,000 Syrians into the United States this year.

On Tuesday, Madeleine Albright and Henry Kissinger and 18 other national security experts and military leaders, sent a letter to members of Congress expressing their opposition to efforts to block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the U.S.