tv Inside Story Al Jazeera November 19, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EST
>> the only live national news show at 11:00 eastern. >> we start with breaking news. >> let's take a closer look. >> it is the policy of the united states government to allow refugees fleeing the fighting in syria to resettle in america, but we have a federal system. and a majority of state leaders say that may be your policy, but we don't want them here, not in our state. nearly all of the governors, all of the republicans, are saying that they among the hidden masses are terrorists,
making their way to the u.s. and ready to strike. that's the "inside story." welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. the obama administration has confirmed that's it the prepared to take 10,000 syrian refugees and resettle them in the united states. the federal government is reassuring people that there's a process in place for screening those hoping to gain admission to the united states, but republicans aren't buying it. the presidential candidates have been scathing in their miss alf administration promises hoping to carefully vet those coming into the country, and they refuse to it accept many of the those fleeing the
turmoil in syria. >> when you know some of the people coming from that region have the potential to be terrorists, we can't take a chance on that. >> word of the widespread state backlash reached president obama in the philippines, where he's attending a conference with pacific rim nations. he flatly rejected calls to keep syrian refugees out of the u.s. >> we are not well served, when in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into pear and panic. we don't make good decisions if it's based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks. and i think that the refugee debate is
an example of us not being well served by commentary and officials and media. >> should they take the refugees? in we'll begin with the mayor in new mexico, who has come out against the governor, martinez. and thank you for joining us. let's talk about this in the most practical level. a city like yours gets for example, 400 people. no jobs, no linguistic skills, no place to live, and no ties. and what do you do first. >> let's talk about the practical side. i know that my number one job is to keep my community safe, and that's 24-7. so i didn't take it lightly
when i signed on to the letter, encouraging the president to welcome the refugees, but the truth of the matter is these refugees are going to be going through an extensive screening process, more so than any other individual coming into our country, and in the most human respect, they represent many of the values of our community. people who came to santa fe, whether it was 400 years ago or last year, came looking for either opportunity or came looking for a place to raise families, and so i think that the values, as a mayor, that i try to represent for my city, are certainly there when it comes to welcoming individuals who are fleeing tyranny and the opportunity for their families, and who are seeking a safe place. and through the course of santa fe's history, we have many of our residents that were in the same situation. >> so you feel satisfied by the president's ria insurances, and what about the problems your
own governor has with this? her office is not that far from a yours. if she's actively opposed to these people coming to the country at all, much less to santa fe, does that make your job harder when if you want to put out the welcome mat? >> certainly, it achieves the effort to try to divide our state when you have a republican governor who is saying no, we don't want these refugees, despite the extensive security checks that are going on, and the mayor of a city saying yes, we want to welcome these individuals, and uphold the values of new mexico and our country. so it is disappointing but look, i get that this is an election year. republicans are trying to do everything that they possibly can to create a divisive country. it's working. we have heard the president say that much of the efforts of isis is to instill fear, and everything coming out of their mouths, including our governor's is we're fearful of
them coming into our communities. >> you heard governor bentley. he was not foaming at the mouth. he said there's a possibility that these people could be terrorists, so i can't take the chance for alabama. >> the thing is that the governors know the facts. since 9/11, more than 700,000 refugees have come into our country, and we have not had a reported domestic terrorism attack. and they know that include the course of history, many of the people who came to america who tried to have a better life were pushed back, and what is always true, what the statue of liberty stood for, welcoming, opening our arms, and making sure that the dna of our country was stronger when there was a mix of people in our communities and in our country. and i think that it's disappointing for me, who wants to, certainly as a mayor, who wants to keep my town safe. but i'm also an american, and i want our country to live up to the ideals that have
represented us since we were firstborn. i have two daughters, and they see the rhetoric on social media, and they hear the rate red that comes out on there, and we have to send a strong message to our unique and let them know, look, this is the right thing to do, and to assure the american people and remind them that we're stronger when we uphold our ideals as a country, and this process of vetting and ensuring that all of these individuals have been be checked and are in place and people are protected. and to keep in mind that half of these refugees will be children. those images of the children who have been washed up ashore who have lost their lives, trying to seek a better life. trying to help these individuals out. >> various kinds of things, and various kinds of emergency
services, could the govern make it hard to resettle people that you welcome? >> the state, the governor is in command of our national guard, and chances are we might need some assistance by being able to welcome some of the refugees into our community. but what i know, many communities across this country, the heart will rev ail and people will stand up, and whether they will open up this were homes, and they will participate in giving through the various charity networks, and making sure that people who come into santa fe will be welcome like in the past years in our community. >> mayor har ger gonzales, mayor of one of the oldest cities in the united states, santa fe. people fleeing civil war at home show up on your country's doorstep. how do you figure out who they
>> so this is a tough issue, because it goes to the core of who we have always been as a people, which is a nation that serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration for those who are fleeing oppression, and the flip side of it is, we have to provide for our national security. and nothing can oversee that. my problem with the migrant situation, it's not that we don't want to accept migrants, but i'm not sure that we can in this it stage of the process. >> you're watching "inside story", and i'm ray suarez. to the on the program, we're looking at the national debate over accepting syrian refugees. senator marco rubio, from florida, who is running for president, said that even if one of the 10,000 refugees coming to america is ready to bring in extremism to the
united states, the 10,000 shouldn't come. it's not acceptable if they want to commit murder in the u.s. whether we accept people fleeing from a war-torn country, and the diplomatic aspect, the united states has taken almost no refugees from the syrian conflict. and our friends and he allies have taken millions. a senior fellow at the center for american progress, mr. millhouser is a justice for think progress, and melanie nazer, a refugee aid organization. and let's talk legalities, horace cooper, can the governments say no? >> governments can stand up and object and they have control over their resources, but legally, this is a decision that the united states government makes, and that is the policy. >>
and i spoke briefly with the mayor of santa fe about it, but in practical terms, even if they can't legally say no, can they make it more difficult to do a reit settlement policy if they don't want it here? >> they can make it more difficult. so the federal government can legally decide who is in the country, and once someone is admitted, they can travel in the united states. but there's a resettlement process, and states will sometimes assist in that settlement process, and if the states don't want to cooperate, it makes it more difficult. now, i don't see how it's good policy, and i don't see how it makes us safer if we have a bunch of folks who it's very difficult to settle them, because people are making the process more difficult as opposed to having them come into communities, and begin to be simulated into that community. but there are things at the margin that the states can do
to make it more difficult. and they can not stop refugees from coming in. >> horace, members of the senate are voicing their objection, and the new speaker of the house, paul ryan, said that he would like to find a way to put a pause on this. does it get more difficult for president obama if the national legislature moves in that direction? >> absolutely. there's a culmination of concerns. bloomberg today has released a poll. and it shows a 2-1 objection on the part of the american people. there's a bipartisan objection, not just republican governors, but democrat governors, and the legislation being considered by speaker ryan, and mitch mcconnell, the majority speaker of the senate will have sponsors of that legislation. there's a real problem, and i just want to make this point. when you go to bed -- when i went to bed last night and just as i was turning in, and i saw two jets, one from l.a.x., and one from washington dulles have
to be diverted because of a bomb threat, and i know that the fbi director has indicated that we are under, here in washington d.c., a special watch for terrorism by isis, we have to take this action seriously. >> melanie nezer, does the fact that this is a debate at all put a special spotlight and pressure on agency that's resettle people. >> of course it does. i think that it's really unfortunate that in this short period of time, you saw with the actions in paris and beirut over the weekend. and most of the world was focused on paris, but the governors one after the other said we don't want refugees, and i think that that reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of what the settlement program is, and how carefully vetted these refugees are. less than 1% of the world's refugees will ever get resettle food a third country.
you don't apply to be a refugee resettled, you're selected and then you go to another country for resettlement and go through an extensive screening process. >> can your agency imagine doing that work in a state where the governor has already announced that he doesn't want those people? >> well, the refugee organizations, most of which are faith based, the evangelical community, and the cath ricks licks and lutherans, and others are involved in system. and humanitarian organizations are involved. and we partner with local and state governments, but this is a community-based government. you heard them that the state department requires extensive consultations between the resettlement agencies, the local government, the service providers and the schools to make sure that each community is ready for the refugees when they come. so the state plays an important
role. in most cases, we haven't had any problems at the state level. the state has been very supportive of these programs, so to see all of a sudden this attention, this is something that we do at a community based level, for a public and private partnership, and there's a lot of support for the communities. >> stay with us. the obama administration has insisted that it's going ahead with its plan to accept refugees, but what does it mean when the state executive of the state is telling you that he or she won't cooperate and won't help. are there effective roadblocks to the program? and can want states legally stop the move? that's tonight's "inside story."
debate over syrian refugees in the united states. the war is over four years old and want united states has accepted and resettled only about 2,000 of the millions who fled the war ravaged country. following the paris attacks, most of the american governors say that they will oppose resettling syrians in their it states. president obama believes that it can be done and we still have our three guests with me. can it be done safe? >> well, the refugee program has an extraordinary record of success to this point. there have been seven to 8 now refugees since 2011, and zero of them have committed a terrorist attack. there are three examples of refugees that were arrested. two were plotting for a different country, not the united states, and the third was arrested for a plot that was not particularly credible and they were stopped.
so three out of about 800,000, and that's an extraordinary success rate. a better one than you'll find among ordinary americans. nearly three in 800,000 americans are murderers. the other point that i'll make, the best thing for america's national security. it's not just about values, but the last thing is to participate in this program. and the reason why, isis's pitch is that there's a clash of civilizations between the muslim world and the western world that we hate them. we hate muslims. and if you want to recruit and if you want to write isis's propaganda, you say things that you hear from people like ted cruz, that we're going to accept christians, and not muslims, and you say that muslims collectively must bare the blame because of in france, none of the people did the
bombing in paris. >> let me go to horace. >> a couple of things, one, the actual numbers over the last 18 months, there have been 66 -- you just have to go to the department of justice website, where they announce the indictments that they're pursuing. 66 isis related attacks, and of those, half of those were self identified refugees, three of which indicated that they were trying to support activities specifically in syria,. >> to be fair, many of those people who are called isis-related by the justice department are native born americans, born in places like minnesota and oklahoma. originally bosnian nationals, who came in the 90s during the falling apart of yugoslavia. >> half a dozen in 18 months is not a winning strategy, and the second point is, our fbi director himself testified that
we don't presently have -- the issue here is that this resettlement program is being botched by the administration's failed syrian and national security policy. we should never be having to have this kind of uprising if the administration wasn't engaging in what clearly looks like amateur hour, and not a serious attack on handling the -- >> i would like to get a context for how the refugee program works, because we're inflating a lot of issues. it's 3 million refugees since 1980. >> where do they come from? >> from all over the world, from vietnam, the soviet union, and many countries in the middle east. most ream, the franzlaters and others who helped us in iraq, they have been brought here by veterans and others who are still at risk to be safe in the united states, so this is a program that spans the globe. i will also say that the
refugee settlement program is different. we see people coming to europe and entering through border patrols and checkpoints, and this is a quick access, and in the u.s., we have the luxury of geography. we go out and select the people that we want to bring to this country. they have been referred to us by the u.n., half of the people that the u.n. screens are screamed out at that point, because they say we're not 100% sure that the u.s. is going to the these people. and then the department of state gets involved. and then the security checks, and then the homeland security officer comes out and does another interview and makes sure that the person is actually a refugee and is admissible. during this time, there are literally dozens of security checks that happen. and then the person may be able to get on a plane and come to the united states,
and most of the faiths will meet them at the airport. i don't fe if we're allowed to do that anymore, but we welcome them at the airport and show them where their apartment is. and the community has donated goods for the apartment. >> let me get a quick response. just one mistake can unravel this whole thing, and does it put a kind of pressure that's unusual for refugee resettlement programs? >> if a mistake happened, it would be horrible, and that's why i'm glad that this program has the record of success that it has had since 1980. the idea that we're going to solve this problem through belligerence, it's important to understand why isis exists. because we invaded iraq. >> you're taken us someplace else, ian. 20 seconds. >> the policy that congress is putting together the president
could save this process, and prevent the metassization that's occurring if he would say, yes, i will support those changes. i will sign that law, and we'll allow that to happen quickly. >> we're out of time, i want to thank horace cooper, ian mill houser, and melanie nezer. i'll be back with what it means to be a refugee. and send us your thoughts or follow me and get in touch at ray suarez news, or visit our facebook page, and tell us what you think about the syrian refugee debate. should states be able to refuse the migrants? is enough being done to vet them?
this this do i think the leaders and fighters of the islamic state care at all about the welfare of desperate people who fled syria? parts of the country controlled by assad or under the rule of isil? isil has built its own pile of corpses as the syrian government and rebel groups fighting to topple it have. sirrians have been doing what muslims have done, what somalias have done, and those fleeing have done. sold the things they could to raise money and run by land into neighboring countries, by sea in to neighboring continents.
yes, there is death and desconstruction in their own countries is their business and their problem. but as europeans have been wrestling with for months when they show up on your doorstep at border crossings, in train stations, splashing ashore from overloaded boats or sleeping in the open in your fields, it's your problem, and the whole world is watching. this morning, the president of at that country long challenged by these questions announced he would continue to take syrian refugees this year and next year. the country is france, home to friday's mass killings. it plans to take three times as many syrian refugees as the united states, a country five times its size. think about that. i'm ray suarez, and that's "the inside story." ♪
france prepares to extend the state of emergency in an effort to find the man behind the paris attacks. hello, you're with al jazeera. also to come in the program in the aftermath of the paris attacks how will increased air strikes affect the waugh in syria. i.s.i.l. says this is the bomb it used to employee up a russian airliner over egypt plus. >> reporter: i'm reporting from thailand where police