Democrat Governor Candidate Edwards Wants Louisiana ‘To Be Partners In Effort To Accommodate Refugees’

John Bel Edwards, D-72nd Dist., speaks at the Southeast Super Region Committee Gubernatorial Forum in New Orleans.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Louisiana Democrat gubernatorial candidate John Bel Edwards says, if elected, he hopes to engage with the “federal authorities” and be partners in the effort to “accommodate” the Syrian “refugees who are fleeing from religious persecution.”

Edwards – who is running against GOP candidate Sen. David Vitter – wrote on his Facebook page:

As governor, I will continue to be an active participant in the ongoing conversation with federal authorities so that we can be partners in the effort to both accommodate refugees who are fleeing from religious persecution and ensure that all our people are safe.

Edwards’ comments come as his opponent, Sen. David Vitter, calls for stopping the flow of refugees to Louisiana. Current Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) has demanded answers from President Obama about the extent of background checks for Syrian refugees who have already begun to enter his state via New Orleans. In addition, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) has halted acceptance of Syrian refugees since the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

After Jindal released his letter to Obama, Edwards’ campaign issued a statement saying he believes Louisiana should “pause the influx of refugees flowing into our state without more information.”

“I think the president has an obligation to provide answers before we move any further,” Edwards said, according to The Advocate. However, Edwards’ later Facebook post Sunday evening suggests he favors both sides of the issue.

In contrast, Vitter called Obama’s plan to increase the number of Syrian refugees “outrageous and irresponsible,” reports local NBC affiliate WDSU.

In September, Obama directed that the United States accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next 12 months with 180 cities participating in the resettlement plan.

The death toll in Paris from the terrorist attacks – for which ISIS claims responsibility – has risen to 132, with at least 352 people injured, some of them very seriously. Some reports indicate that several of the suspects remain at large.

Former New Orleans FBI chief and anti-terrorism expert Jim Bernazzani was interviewed by local Fox affiliate WVUE on whether terrorists coming into the country with the Syrian refugees are a legitimate concern.

“If I was in charge of ISIL, logistically I’d take advantage of this situation and put my people in, into the United States,” Bernazzani said. “Now with that said, the FBI is on top of this big time with our Joint Terrorism Task Force and we have what’s called a Terrorist Screening Center that these individuals will be run through.”

He added, however, that not every refugee entering the United States would face the same level of scrutiny.

“It’s going to be the 18- to 45-year-old male for the most part,” he said. “It’s a percentage game… it’s a percentage game.”


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