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Feds reassure Republican governors, as Detroit mayor volunteers city to host families

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Federal officials say they’re answering the concerns of governors like Michigan’s Rick Snyder about how they vet refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

“We are communicating robustly with governors across the nation to allay their fears, which we strongly believe are not well-founded,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejendro Mayorkus.

Snyder said he wants to slow down the process of bringing more Syrian refugees to Michigan following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. That’s after he said in September that Michigan would request additional visas for people fleeing violence in the Middle East.

He says it takes an average of 18 months to two years to thoroughly examine a request for a refugee visa. He says military-age, single males can take even longer.

At the same time, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan says that’s not necessary.

“Every mayor of every major city in this country is very conscious of this terrorist threat, which is very real. But the question is, do we respond to it with fear and panic, or do we respond to it with thoughtfulness and resolve.”

Duggan says his city is ready to accept 150 Syrian refugee families over three years. He says Detroit is ready to do its part to help the victims of terrorism. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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