Syrian refugees not in mid-Missouri; some want to keep it that way

2 years 7 months 5 days ago Tuesday, November 17 2015 Nov 17, 2015 Tuesday, November 17, 2015 2:14:00 PM CST November 17, 2015 in News
By: Andrea Gonzales, KOMU 8 Reporter & Steve Dawson, KOMU 8 Digital Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Although a handful of governors around the country are making it clear to the Obama administration they would not like Syrian refugees to come to their states after the attacks in Paris, Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement that did not clearly indicate a position as to whether he would block Syrian refugees from settling in Missouri.

Nixon released the following statement to KOMU 8 News:

“The safety of Missourians is my highest priority, and the terrorists who were involved in planning and perpetrating the attacks in Paris must be caught and brought to justice,” Nixon said. “The screening process for refugees is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and I call on our federal partners to implement the strongest possible safeguards to protect our state and nation.”

On Tuesday, Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson sent a letter to Nixon on behalf of a group of Missouri state representatives, urging him to suspend the acceptance of Syrian refugees wanting to relocate in Missouri.

"As I’m sure you are aware, a bipartisan group of 27 governors have opted not to participate in the resettlement efforts and have asked the Department of State to suspend resettlement efforts in those states until adequate security measures can be put in place," Richardson said in the letter. "I am asking you to immediately join those efforts."

Richardson's letter also stated that after the Paris attacks "and with the continued threat of similar attacks here in the United States, I urge you to take swift action to ensure the safety and well-being of all Missouri citizens."

A group of Missouri senators sent a similar letter to Nixon on Monday; that group voiced concern for the safety of Missouri residents if Syrian refugees are allowed in.

Although Nixon does not take a definitive stance regarding Syrian refugees, the Office Manager of Columbia Refugee and Immigration Services Center, Senad Music, said it does not have a single Syrian refugee in mid-Missouri as of Tuesday. 

Music said of the 38 counties the organization serves, there are no verified Syrian refugees living in them. He said the organization is talking to officials in Columbia as to whether they can resettle 50 more immigrants in the community.

"We are verifying with the schools that it will not be hard on their budget or with the health department or with the food stamps," Music said.  

The U.S. started resettling about 85,000 refugees on Oct. 1, the beginning of the federal government's fiscal year. The Obama administration wants 10,000 Syrian refugees to come to the United States.

In a news conference Tuesday in Washington, D.C., State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said while some U.S. citizens might be concerned about terrorist acts if Syrian refugees are allowed in the U.S., most of the refugees are victims, not attackers.

"The vast majority of these refugees are victims of the very same violence that we saw in Paris and, frankly, have been living and dealing with a level of violence, a level of brutality, of suffering and sacrifice that’s incomprehensible to us, and they are seeking refuge," Toner said.

As for refugees in mid-Missouri, in the cases the organization handled in the 2015 fiscal year, Music said 29 came from Eritrea, 28 came from the Congo, 25 from Iraq, 18 from Myanmar, 17 from Somalia, and nine from Afghanistan. If Missouri begins to accommodate more refugees, he expects that number will gradually increase the next few years.

Music said he thinks refugees better the community.

"People will pay their taxes," Music said. "Their kids will finish school. They will start businesses, and they will help this community."

Music said Columbia may see Syrian refugees in a year or maybe in five years, but he said "as of this moment and maybe the next three or four months, I don't have any signs of that."

Related Stories

More News

Grid
List
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Outside a sprawling mall in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, young single men and women walk... More >>
16 minutes ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 6:21:17 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The discussion on community policing continues to ripple through Columbia after a citywide meeting Saturday. The City... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 3:31:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating the shooting death of a man near a house in... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 3:12:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she was kicked out of a Virginia restaurant by its owner... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:47:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The wife of a former University of Missouri football coach is helping her husband remember the details... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:18:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – Reaching all generations was the goal of one Columbia woman on Saturday. Cheryl Miller is the president... More >>
5 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 1:03:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - Two teenage boys suffered serious injuries in an ATV accident Friday night, according to the Missouri State... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:34:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A national gathering in St. Louis in September will focus on election security. Missouri... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 7:54:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
FULTON - The city of Fulton kicked off their annual Street Festival in style Friday with live music, a carnival,... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 2:23:00 AM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 30-year-old inmate was charged Friday with capital murder in the shooting deaths of... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 8:41:21 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE - People will see a few more cars drive through town this weekend, as the city celebrates its annual... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 5:41:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
BOONVILLE – Police said a technician at a local gas station found an internal skimmer device inside a gas pump... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:49:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Fulton man could face more than 200 years in prison after being found guilty of 12... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 4:01:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The U.S. House passed the 2018 farm bill, formally known as the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:49:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
FULTON - Despite rainfall these past two days, statistics show most of Missouri is dryer than usual. Data released... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:37:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
HUNTSVILLE – The sentencing phase of the trial for a convicted murderer began Friday. Jeffrey Nichols was convicted Thursday... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Graduate students at the University of Missouri celebrated Thursday after they were officially considered employees, but the celebration... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 2:32:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has faced big challenges in recent years - from changes in administration to loss of state funding... More >>
1 day ago Friday, June 22 2018 Jun 22, 2018 Friday, June 22, 2018 1:43:00 PM CDT June 22, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 82°
7pm 79°
8pm 78°
9pm 75°
10pm 73°