Missouri lawmakers question vetting of Syrian refugees
Some Democrats on the joint committee warned that the hearing should not be used to play up fears of terrorists trying to sneak into the country.
"The men, women and children who are trying to flee from the oppression and attacks (in their home country), those are not the ones we need to fear," said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis. "We're going down a slippery slope; do we want to be able to protect our homeland? Yes, but do we want to deny access to the most vulnerable?"
Both Crosslin and Kincade said 29 Syrian refugees are currently in Missouri.
Meanwhile, House Democrats unveiled their plan for how Missouri should handle any incoming refugees. It includes:
- Opposing any efforts to set up internment camps to house Syrian refugees and any efforts to create a "government-sponsored religious database"
- Provide $6.5 million to the Missouri State Highway Patrol to boost information and intelligence capabilities, verify federal screenings of refugees and assess the vulnerability of Missouri's physical and digital infrastructures
- Increase cyber security funding and resources
- Provide resources to local governments to boost their cyber security
The likelihood of any of these proposals becoming law depends on whether Republican lawmakers adopt them as well, which at this early stage appears unlikely.
More hearings are expected to be held before the start of the 2016 legislative session.