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

3 years 4 months 3 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
COLUMBIA - A federal grand jury indicted the man accused of starting a fire at Planned Parenthood on new charges.... More >>
56 minutes ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 10:11:00 AM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - An overnight fire at the ABB facility started in the building's exhaust system, according to a news... More >>
1 hour ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 9:27:00 AM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
(CNN) -- Farmers in parts of Nebraska and Iowa had precious little time to move themselves from the floodwaters that... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 5:37:00 AM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - City leaders will meet Friday to try to find a solution to the recent spike in gun violence... More >>
5 hours ago Friday, March 22 2019 Mar 22, 2019 Friday, March 22, 2019 5:30:00 AM CDT March 22, 2019 in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - A Moniteau County Sheriff's Office deputy was taken to a local hospital Thursday night after a passenger... More >>
13 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 10:06:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Candidates in the Columbia mayoral race met Thursday night in the only event being called a 'debate' between... More >>
14 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 8:54:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
HALLSVILLE - Lorenzo Moreno was partners with Vincent Valentino at the successful Sarsapilla Speakeasy, until his disappearance two weeks ago.... More >>
17 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 5:43:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug designed to specifically treat postpartum depression. The... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 3:21:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools is being recognized for its work in improving the mental health of its students and... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 3:15:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities have rescued several people stranded by flooding in northwest Missouri as the swollen Missouri River... More >>
19 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 3:08:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency Thursday in response to widespread flooding along the Missouri... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 3:05:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - While the controversial Grain Belt Express moved one step forward this week, critics and supporters say tough battles... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 2:18:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS – A search has begun for a new chancellor at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Current chancellor Tom... More >>
20 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 2:12:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A judge set a $100,000 cash-only bond for Quatavia Givens, the woman at the center of the... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 1:55:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — The company that owns a duck boat that sank on a Missouri lake in the summer... More >>
21 hours ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 1:25:00 PM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Environmental activists plan to make their voices heard at a Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) public... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, March 21 2019 Mar 21, 2019 Thursday, March 21, 2019 3:26:00 AM CDT March 21, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- Brian Treece and Chris Kelly answered public questions regarding a variety of issues facing the Columbia community. When... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, March 20 2019 Mar 20, 2019 Wednesday, March 20, 2019 11:23:00 PM CDT March 20, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Blair Oaks School District held a meeting Thursday night on a potential new building that is... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, March 20 2019 Mar 20, 2019 Wednesday, March 20, 2019 11:00:00 PM CDT March 20, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 54°
12pm 52°
1pm 54°
2pm 58°
3pm 60°