Gov. Dayton says refusing Syrian refugees is 'un-American'

Syrian-American activists
In September, Syrian-American activists and others gathered at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis to urge the U.S. to accept more refugees from Syria. After the November attacks in Paris, many governors have resisted accepting any at all.
Matt Sepic | MPR News 2015

To date, 31 U.S. governors have taken steps to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in their states.

Gov. Mark Dayton is not one of them.

Dayton joined MPR News' Kerri Miller to talk about his commitment to keeping Minnesota open for refugees. He acknowledged the need for security but said that the State Department and Department of Homeland Security have an extensive vetting process in place.

"I think there should be an enhanced level of vetting and security for Syrian refugees or others that come from places which have been sources of terrorism," Dayton said. He cited the unclassified portion of the vetting procedure that was shared with the public. "And I know, having been on the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security, there's far more that's actually undertaken."

Dayton criticized governors who have spoken out against accepting refugees, saying, "Somebody can resettle somewhere else and come into anybody's state unless we're going to guard our borders and check IDs of people who are driving into Minnesota or Wisconsin or anywhere else. So, it's a lot of puffery."

"People who are fleeing terrorism in other countries, people with families with children in their arms — to tell them they can't come into this country and have a future is just un-American," Dayton said.

"People who are fleeing terrorism in other countries, people with families with children in their arms — to tell them they can't come into this country and have a future is just un-American," Dayton said.

To hear the full discussion about the logistics of resettling Syrian refugees, use the audio player above. Julia Preston, the national immigration correspondent for the New York Times, and Jane Graupman, executive director of the International Institute of Minnesota, also joined the conversation.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.