GOP senator: Give governors ability to block refugee resettlement

Getty Images

Sen. John ThuneJohn ThuneRepublicans question Trump's trip to Scotland Short-term FAA bill would likely extend into next year, GOP chairman says Civil liberties group mobilizes against surveillance amendment MORE is hoping to link a measure giving governors the ability to block refugee resettlement to a House-passed refugee bill.

"I plan to file an amendment to this bill that would also give more authority to individual states when it comes to the resettlement of refugees," the South Dakota Republican said Wednesday. "If a governor's office is not satisfied that its security concerns have been addressed by the required security checks, the governor can veto the settlement in question."

ADVERTISEMENT
Thune, who chairs the Republican conference, added that his amendment would allow governors to sit in at weekly refugee resettlement meetings. The amendment wouldn't stop refugees from traveling between states.

He is hoping to attach his amendment to legislation that would effectively freeze the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the Obama administration can certify they aren't a national security threat.

The Senate will take a procedural vote on the House-passed bill on Wednesday afternoon. It's unclear if Democrats will help Republicans get the 60 votes needed to overcome the hurdle.

Thune pressured Democrats and the administration to back the legislation, calling the additional certifications included in the House-passed bill a "reasonable request." 

"If the administration wants to assure the American people that these refugees are not a threat, then it should have no problem providing such certifications," he said, adding that his amendment is a "reasonable solution" to concerns raised by governors. 

Dozens of governors suggested late last year that they wouldn't accept refugees into their state, but the moves raised legal questions about whether states could refuse the federal government's resettlement of refugees.