Gov. Nixon speaks about allowing Syrian refugees into Missouri
COLUMBIA - Missouri Governor Jay Nixon released a statement Monday about allowing Syrian refugees into Missouri.
Nixon said his highest priority is safety throughout the state, but he will look to federal authorities to put in "the strongest possible safeguards to protect the state and nation."
The governor also said he thinks the terrorists involved in the deadly attacks in Paris must be caught and brought to justice.
Below is Nixon's full statement sent 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,” Gov. 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.”
According to the Associated Press, the Democrat's statement didn't say he'd block Syrian refugees from settling in Missouri. Three Republican candidates for governor want Nixon to do so, citing safety concerns. Those candidates are suburban St. Louis businessman John Brunner, former state House speaker and U.S. attorney Catherine Hanaway and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.
The president and CEO of the U.S Committee for Refugees and Immigration says under the Refugee Act of 1980 governors cannot legally block refugees.
Spokesman Nick Maddux said Hanaway wants Nixon to order state agencies to stop cooperating with relocation efforts. Spokesmen for Brunner and Kinder didn't immediately respond to further questions.
[Editor's note: this story has been updated to include information from the Associated Press with reactions to Nixon's statement.]