MSNBC's Morning Joe Calls Out Republican Governors Who Want To Reject Syrian Refugees: “They Have No Legal Authority”

Willie Geist: “Resettlement Is A Federal Matter ... When Refugees Come In There's No Group Of People Who Are Screened More Strictly”

From the November 17 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

Video file

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: A growing number of governors from across the country are voicing concern about resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S. Right now at least 26 governors say they're opposed to the idea of Syrian refugees entering their state or have directly told the federal government, not in my state. During a news conference yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he would not “roll the dice and take the risk on allowing a few refugees in.” And South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry saying, “I have concerns with the vetting process of refugees from conflict zones, specifically Syria.” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has reportedly done an about-face on accepting Syrian refugees. As recently as September he said he would sit down with our allies and figure out a way to help. But here's what he said yesterday during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt:


BRZEZINSKI: Okay. That would be popping off. And that would be popping off. There's no legal authority to do it, number one. So they're just using this. And it's, what, 10,000 Syrians -- families, women, and children. It's just not who we are. And they're all Republican governors. Some from swing states, which is interesting. But --

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Are they all Republican governors?

BRZEZINSKI: I think they are.

MIKE BARNICLE: No, there's one Democrat, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.

SCARBOROUGH: New Hampshire?

BRZEZINSKI: One Democrat? There is one Democrat. There you go.

SCARBOROUGH: She's running for Senate. Not that it's a coincidence that she's running against Kelly Ayotte.

BRZEZINSKI: Do we even need to talk about this?

SCARBOROUGH: No, and I think -- we can if we want to.

BRZEZINSKI: You went on and on and on and on and on about the president.

SCARBOROUGH: You know what? The president of the United States actually has the ability to help us win a war against ISIS. These governors have no legal authority.

BRZEZINSKI: Are tapping into hatred.

SCARBOROUGH: These governors have no legal authority to stop refugees from coming into the states.

BRZEZINSKI: Which is why they should shut up. I'm sorry. Get out of it.

SCARBOROUGH: OK. But you're trying to put that at the same level with the president of the United States disconnected against a war against ISIS? No. They're just being stupid.


SCARBOROUGH: And it's irrelevant.

BRZEZINSKI: You're being incredibly stupid and hateful and, I think, destructive to the process unless you think governors are irrelevant --

BARNICLE: Well, it's Homeland Security.

BRZEZINSKI: -- and senators and congressmen who have gone on television all day yesterday saying no Syrians in my district. It's disgusting, are you kidding me? Come on, it's reprehensible.

SCARBOROUGH: I agree. And let me say again. Again, these governors have no authority.

BRZEZINSKI: And senators and congressmen.

SCARBOROUGH: They can hold a press conference if they would like ... These governors have no authority to do this, period. End of sentence.

WILLIE GEIST: Resettlement is a federal matter. And also when refugees come in there's no group of people who are screened more strictly than refugees in terms of the process they have to go through. It's not like they just flood into the country.

BARNICLE: And they don't come in overnight. There's a vetting process that takes place.

SCARBOROUGH: That is the insanity of it as well. You look at what's happening in Europe and they're coming in trains, right? They're just flooding across the borders and the Europeans are overwhelmed. We have the toughest process in the -- one of the toughest processes in the world if you're going to come in and do this legally and the vetting is intense.

BARNICLE: It's extensive.

SCARBOROUGH: Extraordinarily extensive, Mika.

BRZEZINSKI: Some of these governors don't trust it. They think it's -

SCARBOROUGH: They have -- unless they want to get elected on the federal level, they -

BRZEZSINSKI: Some of them are running for president, so it is kind of important.


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