The verbal war between Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Indiana Governor Mike Pence is heating up again. Malloy went after Pence last spring over the anti-gay “religious freedom” law that was enacted in Indiana. Now Malloy is slamming Pence over Pence’s refusal to help Syrian refugees.
On November 17, Indiana officials sent letters to two agencies that were helping to settle Syrian refugees, saying that in light of the attacks in Paris, plans to place two Syrian families in the state should be stopped. Carleen Miller, director of Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., said that she didn’t want the family her agency is helping to go through any extra “drama,” even though she believes that the state does not have the power to stop the resettlement. That family, which has been waiting to settle in the United States since 2012, is coming to Connecticut, where Governor Malloy is welcoming them with open arms.
That event brought about Malloy’s latest criticism of Pence. During a news conference on Wednesday, Malloy had this to say about the right-wing Indiana governor:
But this is the same guy who signed a homophobic bill in the spring surrounded by homophobes. So I’m not surprised by anything the governor does.
In what appeared to be a back-handed slap at Pence over the Indiana “religious freedom” law, Malloy talked about why states should be willing to take in Syrian refugees:
It is the right thing, the humane thing to do. Quite frankly, if you believe in God, it’s the morally correct thing to do.
Pence and the other, mostly Republican governors, who are balking at resettling the refugees are claiming that they have new concerns about terrorism following the Paris attacks. One of the excuses they are using is the report that a Syrian passport was found near one of the dead attackers. But authorities believe that passport is likely a forgery. On Monday, Pence’s office issued the following statement:
In the wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, effective immediately, I am directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of additional Syrian refugees in the state of Indiana pending assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been achieved. Indiana has a long tradition of opening our arms and homes to refugees from around the world but, as governor, my first responsibility is to ensure the safety and security of all Hoosiers. Unless and until the state of Indiana receives assurances that proper security measures are in place, this policy will remain in full force and effect.
FBI Director James Comey stoked the fears of Pence and the other governors, by saying that in the past, some refugees had not been properly vetted. He cited the case of two Iraqi refugees who settled in Kentucky, and who were later arrested on terrorism charges. But what Comey failed to mention is that those two were the only ones out of some 745,000 refugees who have been settled in the U.S. since September 11, 2001, who have faced terrorism charges. He also failed to mention that the charges against those men were for aiding al Qaeda in Iraq. They were not accused of, nor charged with, anything related to terror plots within the United States.
Malloy explained his position on Syrian refugees when he talked to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Tuesday evening. Here is that conversation.
Featured image via MSNBC screen capture