Sioux City agency prepared to help Syrian refugees - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City agency prepared to help Syrian refugees


The recent terror attacks in Paris, and the Syrian refugee crisis, have sparked a debate over the policy toward those refugees entering the United States.

Some worry terrorists are hiding among those refugees. Across the country, 31 governors have expressed similar feelings about Syrian refugees. "We don't want to make the mistake the Europeans did of bringing a bunch of refugees with embedded Islamic militants among them that are going to do damage in our country," said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

Nebraska's governor took to Twitter Monday. Gov. Pete Ricketts asked his state not participate in the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

In South Dakota, Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants the federal government to re-examine background checks adding "it's very unlikely any Syrian refugees end up in South Dakota."

At the Mary J. Treglia  Community House, in Sioux City, workers help immigrants from many nations adapt to new communities. Amy Abraham is an immigrant lawyer there. She says she's saddened by Gov. Branstad's remarks. "I understand the sentiment behind it," she said. "These people are fleeing ISIS, or depending on where they're from. They're fleeing horrible situations. They're victims, most all of them."

There aren't many Syrian refugees in the three Siouxland states, if any. Officials in Nebraska say they've had no Syrian refugees through resettlement. In Iowa, officials also report no Syrian refugees this year. And, South Dakota hasn't had any in three years.

The process of resettlement for refugees is a long one Abraham says. "(It takes) years usually," Abraham added. "Not usually a matter of months before they come here. I think that there already is a very strenuous screening process."

Some lawmakers don't see it that way, and blame the Obama administration for the situation, today. "The failure of this administration's Middle East policy is why we have a refugee crisis today," said Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley in a video conference Wednesday.

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