2015 | Politics

Democrats Quick to Criticize Hogan after Governor Asks to Halt Syrian Refugees From Coming to Maryland

Hogan joined more than 20 other Republican governors who have made similar statements in wake of Paris terrorist attacks

share this

Gov. Larry Hogan, shown at a press conference on Monday in which he announced he is cancer-free after months of treatment

Via Facebook

Updated at 5:05 p.m. – A Montgomery County state delegate said he was “unbelievably disappointed” in Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Tuesday that he’ll ask the federal government not to allow Syrian refugees to settle in Maryland until it provides “appropriate assurances” those refugees aren’t safety threats.

Democratic District 39 Del. Kirill Reznik, who represents parts of Montgomery Village and Gaithersburg, said Hogan’s announcement, which comes in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks Friday, goes directly against the Republican’s “campaign promise of bipartisanship, moderation, and good governance.”

“As we all sit down to eat turkey and watch football in a couple of weeks, maybe we can do something truly thankful and help our global community,” wrote Reznik, who recounted his personal history of coming to the U.S. from the Soviet Union in the 1970s when his family was granted refugee status. “Your powers as Governor do not actually include stopping refugees at the Maryland border, let’s try some compassion instead.”

Immigration falls under the authority of the federal government, meaning governors have little power to block refugees.

Hogan made the announcement on his Facebook page, saying “the safety and security of Marylanders remain my first priority. Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety.”

One of the terrorists in the Paris attacks went to Syria, where he is believed to have joined the Islamic State (ISIS). More than 20 Republican governors have announced they are opposed to Syrian refugees resettling in their states for fear that terrorists might attempt to disguise themselves as refugees to enter the country.

Democratic District 14 Del. Eric Luedtke, who represents parts of Silver Spring, Olney and Damascus, tweeted “My faith and my values tell me to help those in need. We [should] welcome innocent people fleeing evil, not cower. [Gov.] Hogan doesn’t speak for me.”

"It is shameful that Governor Hogan and others would seek to exploit peoples' justifiable safety concerns by further fueling their fears," Rep. Chris Van Hollen said in a statement. "We can protect our security and uphold our values by carefully vetting refugees fleeing the horror of ISIS. Leadership requires soberly confronting the facts, not a stampede toward demagoguery.”

"The United States was built on the values of tolerance and inclusion, and history teaches us that we must not turn our backs on those in need," said Attorney General Brian Frosh. "I know we can remain safe while our arms remain open."

“America is at its best when it welcomes those most in need,” wrote Democratic 8th District congressional candidate Will Jawando on his Facebook page. “I'm extremely disappointed in Governor Hogan's statement regarding Syrian refugees. The procedures are already in place to ensure the safety of all Americans, including Marylanders.”

In his letter to Hogan, Reznik said “maybe it helped that our skin was white and our religion was Judaism” but “nevertheless, the suspicion leveled at us when we arrived—our motivations for coming, our loyalties to our former country—was something that even a 5-year old boy clutching his mother’s skirt as she went for job interviews at the local diner could feel.

“Since September 11, 2001, the United States has accepted over 700,000 refugees from the Middle East and South and Central Asia,” Reznik continued. “Yet, the most acts of terror have come from home grown evil.”