Days after 23 Republican governors and one Democratic governor puffed up their chests and announced they would not be accepting Syrian refugees in their states even though they haven’t the legal authority to deny access to their states, the Obama administration once again played the Only Adult in the Room by explaining to them verbally what the rest of us grasp by reading.
The Obama administration had to host phone call with governors to brief them on what even civilians know regarding the refugee vetting security process, because you know, a certain political party has polluted the well and now everyone is freaking out. The White House announced, “The officials briefed the governors on the rigorous screening and security vetting process that is required before a refugee is able to travel to the United States.”
How kind of them, because it’s such a secret that CNN has an article about it. The FBI, the DOD, the DHS, and others vet refugees.
Here’s the full readout of the White House call with governors:
Today, the White House hosted a call with a bipartisan group of 34 governors from across the country to provide information about existing refugee admissions policies and security screening measures. White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough led the call and was joined by Alejandro Mayorkas, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; Simon Henshaw, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration; Mark Giuliano, Deputy Director of the FBI; and representatives from the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The call lasted almost 90 minutes, including an extensive question and answer session among the governors and Administration officials. The officials briefed the governors on the rigorous screening and security vetting process that is required before a refugee is able to travel to the United States. Thirteen governors asked questions.
The Administration officials reiterated what the President has made abundantly clear: that his top priority is the safety of the American people. That’s why, even as the United States accepts more refugees—including Syrians—we do so only after they undergo the most rigorous screening and security vetting of any category of traveler to the United States.
Several Governors expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to better understand the process and have their issues addressed directly by representatives of the agencies responsible for the refugee and screening programs. Others encouraged further communication to ensure that governors are able to better respond to questions from the public about the refugee screening and resettlement process.
Denis McDonough also committed to working with the National Governors Association to improve information sharing and maintain an ongoing dialogue.
So now that we have had to waste the White House’s time explaining things to certain governors that civilians found out by using Google , it’s time to move on to explaining to Speaker Paul Ryan that he doesn’t need to demand that President Obama get a strategy on ISIL because President Obama already has one, and everyone who can read knows about it because it’s not even secret.
It’s beyond ridiculous that we have to spend precious time when we should be debating the best way to address this crisis educating and reading out loud to half of the country because the Republican Party is using the Syrian refugee crisis as yet another campaign opportunity.
All Republicans have to offer so far is fear and bigotry. There are issues to be dealt with, but we shouldn’t be wasting time explaining that yes, there is a vetting process. And no, the UN isn’t dictating to us. Do we have to go back to zero every time?
Apparently yes, because Republicans can’t do much to actually governor or lead. They are way too busy buying into crazy conspiracy theories and selling panic, fear, and hatred to allow us to address the refugee crisis.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.