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Shelton Reps. Perillo, McGorty Call To Ban Syrian Refugees In Connecticuct

State Rep. Ben McGorty, a Republican, represents parts of Stratford, Shelton and Trumbull.
State Rep. Ben McGorty, a Republican, represents parts of Stratford, Shelton and Trumbull. Photo Credit: House of Representatives

SHELTON, Conn. — Citing public safety concerns, state Reps. Jason Perillo and Ben McGorty are calling for a ban on Syrian refugees in Connecticut.

In a joint statement released Thursday, the two Republican lawmakers said they disagreed with the announcement from Gov. Dannel Malloy that he intends for Connecticut to accept 1,500 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.

Perillo, who represents Shelton, and McGorty, who represents Shelton, Stratford and Trumbull, are calling for a reversal of that decision.

Noting what they called "the inability of the state to properly screen incoming refugees," and the heightened security concerns raised by Friday’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, they say it is unwise for Connecticut to accept the refugees at this time.

“While we have great compassion for the refugees, most of whom are displaced families fleeing a war-torn region, the safety of American citizens must be paramount,” said Perillo. “It has been confirmed that at least one and maybe more of the ISIS terrorists who perpetrated the cowardly atrocities in Paris last week posed as refugees to access Europe, then France.

"Our state does not have the capacity to evaluate the veracity of who they claim they are, or determine if they have no criminal history or have contagious disease. Federal immigration policy must be upheld to determine that. We should exercise great caution, and always err on the side of public safety.”

McGorty agreed.

“We should not be too hasty in our drive to welcome these refugees to Connecticut,” he said. “Even with proper federal vetting being conducted, the government of Syria is degraded in such a way that verification of the identities and histories of the refugees is most likely compromised. The governor, and more importantly the president, needs to re-examine this policy and put the safety of our citizens first.”

Both legislators acknowledged and said they "support the status of the United States as a nation of immigrants," but say it is also a nation of laws.

"A bipartisan group of half the nation’s governors have made the right decision for their residents by turning these refugees away," they said in the joint statement.

They urged Malloy to reconsider his decision.

Malloy welcomed a three-member Syrian family to Connecticut on Wednesday. That brings the total number of Syrian refugees who have moved to Connecticut in the past year to 42.

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