Governor Bentley Requests Information from White House on Refugee Reception Program in Alabama

MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and another federal official with the United States Department of State requesting reports on the refugee reception program in Alabama.

The refugee program in Alabama is established between the United States Department of State and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pursuant to a cooperative agreement. The Conference has entered a sub-agreement with Catholic Social Services of the Greater Mobile Area. These agencies are required to provide consultations to the State of Alabama four times a year and submit quarterly reports on refugee reception.  The State of Alabama has not received the consultations or the required reporting on refugee reception.

“The lack of reporting by volunteer organizations stands to further demonstrate my deep concern for the refugee vetting process,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “In my opinion, the refugee vetting process is structured in such a way that excludes states from any oversight and severely limits the amount of information states may have regarding refugees. My letter requests that the required quarterly consultations and expected reports to the State of Alabama begin immediately.”

Governor Bentley has requested the President reconsider the strategy on accepting Syrian refugees.  In a letter to the White House last week, Governor Bentley informed the President of the decision not to accept Syrian refugees in Alabama.

“The threat posed by the Syrian refugees is real, and as Governor, I cannot expose my fellow Alabamians to the risk of accepting refugees from Syria, whose backgrounds cannot properly be checked to ensure national security. We must make every effort to protect our country from possible terrorists who want to destroy all that is good about America.”

A copy of the Governor’s letter can be found here.