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Vigilance in the Face of Terror

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Asa Hutchinson | Arkansas Governor

The horrific and inhumane
acts of terror perpetrated
in Paris over the
weekend are reminders of
the critical role of homeland
security and how vigilant
we must remain in the fight
against terrorism. Some of
the attackers reportedly
posed as refugees to gain
entrance into France — an
issue that should concern
all Americans.
As governor, my chief
responsibility is to keep our
state and people safe, which
is why I have decided to oppose
Arkansas being used as
a relocation center for Syrian
refugees.
I urge President Obama
and Congress to act to protect
our country during this
time of heightened global
tension. While we don’t have
the authority on the state
level to change federal policy,
my fellow governors and I
do have a duty to protect our
states’ citizens, and we have
a personal responsibility to
act when we have the power
to do so.
Like all Americans, Arkansans
hurt for the Syrian
refugees. The hardships
they face are beyond most
of our understanding, and
my thoughts and prayers
are with them, but I will not
support a policy that poses
real risk to Americans.
It is also not the best solution.
Europe, Asia and Africa
are more logical places for
resettlement or temporary
asylum. I know that the United
States will support our
European friends in fighting
ISIL, but the right strategy
is not for this country to
become a permanent place
of relocation.
We live in a world where
terrorists coordinate attacks
on innocent civilians at a
soccer game, fly airplanes
into office buildings and
eagerly trade their lives to
murder others — often in the
name of religious zealotry
and hatred of the West.
We ignore these realities
at our peril. We ignore this
world at the risk of another
terrorist attack. And another.
And another.
Without some degree of
certainty that refugees from
Syria will not provide cover
for terrorists, I cannot in
good conscience allow my
state to be their sanctuary.
We cannot let our guard
down in the face of terror.