ARLINGTON, Va. - Thirty states have already said they won't help the White House resettle Syrian refugees out of concerns of terrorism. But Arlington County in Virginia said it is interested in being a community to house some of the 10,000 refugees the White House wants to bring to the United States.
Arlington County officials said they have a long history of resettling refugees here going back to the Vietnam War.
"We know how to do refugee settlement here,” said Mary Hughes Hynes, chair of the Arlington County Board. “We absolutely respect that many people have security concerns. It's not our job to screen. That's the federal government's job."
"Because of the lack of records and biometric data, it’s extremely difficult to screen refugees, so there are very valid concerns over the refugee screening process," said Nile Gardiner of the Heritage Foundation.
On Capitol Hill Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans will introduce a bill to force the White House have the major United States intelligence agencies sign off on every single refugee before they can enter the country.
What do people in Arlington County think about this? Many expressed sympathy for the refugees’ plight, but there are deep concerns over terrorists using the crisis as cover to enter their community.
“Where are they going to put them?” said Arlington resident Clifton Gardener. “That's a big thought. I would honestly not feel comfortable at this point in time bringing 8,000 over after everything that just happened. I would feel uncomfortable."
"Hopefully yes, it won't be a bad thing, but I think they need to be very careful about the decision they’re going to make about allowing them to come over," said Lavonda Humphries.
How soon could all of this happen? That is still up in the air. Hynes told us those discussions are going on at the state and federal level. But when they are able to come here, she said Syrian refugees will be welcome in Arlington County.