WTVM Editorial 11/20/15: Syrian refugees and US safety

WTVM Editorial 11/20/15: Syrian refugees and US safety

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Whenever major terrorism attacks occur, our lives change.

One change after the Paris attacks, is sought by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.

They were among the first to declare they do not want Syrian refugees to be allowed to settle here, because there is no assurance from our own federal government that the refugees won't be terrorists.

The Constitution doesn't let states control federal immigration policy, but governors Deal and Bentley have a right to be concerned and to demand citizen safety be a top priority.

Now the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill to halt Syrian immigration with enough Republican and Democratic votes to override a veto promised by President Obama.

After the terrorism of Sept. 11, 2001, we all endured major changes to our lives:

The federal government created the TSA and airport procedures changed that require us all to take off our shoes and stop carrying liquids through security.

Airplanes fortified cockpit doors, set aside seats for armed Air Marshals and another change allowed some pilots to carry a gun.

Then, there was the Patriot Act, a big change allowing surveillance to prevent terrorism.

Yet another post-911 law, called the Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act was supposed to change the way the State Department and The Immigration Service shared data to prevent terrorist attacks.

Of course, that didn't prevent the Boston Marathon bombings, because federal laws don't always work as intended.

So, terrorism has already caused changes in our lives, because we demand and expect more security.

But even after the Paris attacks, some politicians don't want any changes....and those who do want a change, to slow down the settlement of Syrian refugees until we can properly screen them, are called Un-American.

But Governors Deal and Bentley are right to say we need to slow down, and change the assumption that Syrian refugees can be automatically placed in states by federal authorities. Let's get answers to questions about the refugees before they arrive.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to WTVM Editorial Committee or write to:

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