Nevada Gov. Sandoval seeks review of refugee resettlement

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is asking President Barack Obama not to send more Syrian refugees to Nevada until federal officials complete a thorough review of resettlement programs, although he didn’t go as far as other governors who directed state agencies to block Syrian refugees from moving into their states.

Sandoval, a Republican, wrote a letter Monday asking Obama to review refugee eligibility, security, funding and notification processes in light of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris. He also said he asked state agencies to determine the number of refugees currently in Nevada.

“Like many of my fellow governors, I am concerned first and foremost with the security of my state in the aftermath of Friday’s tragic events in Paris,” Sandoval said in a statement late Monday. “It is in the interest of all Nevadans and the millions who travel to our state annually to insist on extensive evaluations of any potential risk individuals may pose to Nevada or our national security.”

He also added that “we must balance our nation’s role as an international leader with the safety and security of our citizens and visitors.”

Other governors have been more aggressive in their approach to the estimated 10,000 refugees that President Barack Obama pledged to accept into the United States. Some threatened to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states after the attacks, although immigration experts say that governors cannot legally block the resettlement in their communities.

Sandoval faced mounting pressure Monday to personally suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Nevada. Republican Sen. Dean Heller asked the governor to reject the newcomers “until my questions have been sufficiently answered.”

Republican Rep. Joe Heck and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, who are in a highly competitive race to replace retiring Sen. Harry Reid, took similar stances on the matter. Both said they want a review of refugee programs before accepting any more from Syria.

The responses come amid heightened concerns that terrorists might use refugees as cover to sneak across borders. Authorities said a Syrian passport was found near one of the suspects in Friday’s deadly attacks, and the Paris prosecutors’ office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.


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