Rick Scott: Florida Won't Take Syrian Refugees Without 'Extensive Evaluation' Of Risk

Nov 16, 2015

Florida is reexamining its Syrian refugee policy following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday that left 129 dead and hundreds of others injured.

On Monday, in a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Gov. Rick Scott announced he would be opposing the resettling of 425 Syrians to Florida. 

Scott said "the news that at least one of the terror attack suspects gained access to France by posing as a Syrian refugee" has led Florida to reevaluate its resettling plan, citing homeland security concerns. 

Instead, Scott is asking Congress to block President Obama from using federal tax dollars to relocate Syrians without "an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security."

Florida is one of six states that has housed the majority of the 1,500 Syrian refugees that have entered the country in the last four years, along with Texas, California, Michigan, Illinois and Arizona. About 3,000 Syrians live in South Florida. 

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is running for president, said Sunday that U.S. aid should focus on Christians fleeing persecution in Syria.

"I think we need to do thorough screening and take in a limited number," Bush said while appearing on the CNN "State of the Union" show. "There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They'll be either executed or imprisoned, either by (President Bashar al-Assad) or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered."

Presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" that the U.S. "won't be able to take more refugees."

"It's not that we don't want to," Rubio said. "It's that we can't."

As of Monday, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, Arizona, North Carolina and Mississippi had also announced they are at least temporarily refusing to take in Syrian refugees. 

The White House says it plans to go forward with its policy of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees by 2016.

Read the letter from Gov. Scott here: