In a letter to President-elect Trump on December 20, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (shown on right) listed 11 bulleted items proposing suggested changes to the way the federal government interacts with the states. Of particular interest to those who are concerned about the rapid increase in the number of Syrian and other refugees who have been resettled in the United States — often against the wishes of the leaders and residents of the states where the resettlement has taken place — is Walker’s item about the refugee resettlement process. The item reads:
• Refugee Resettlement Process for Refugees from Countries with Terrorist Ties: Our state has consistently voiced concern about the vetting and relocation of refugees from such countries. We would like to see our state to have a broader role in determining how many refugees and from which countries until we are comfortable with the vetting process that is being utilized to screen these individuals.
Walker told the AP that he made his request to Trump because he believes states should get more information about refugees. “As far as we can tell, they’re just fully integrating these individuals into the communities that they’re in, which doesn’t really fit with the definition of refugee,” Walker said. “We have no idea how many people may have ties to the Islamic State or to other forms of radical Islamic terrorism or jihadist groups, and I think it’s a legitimate public safety concern.”
Walker made states’ rights and the growth of the federal government an important part of his letter to Trump, writing:
The federal government was originally created to be a small, central government of limited powers, with everything else left to the states. Through years of federal overreach, this model has been turned on its head, and now is the time to right the ship. Power flows from the people to the government, not the other way around.
Too often, states have become mere administrative provinces of an all-powerful federal government in Washington, which restrains growth and prosperity by forcing states to accept policies and priorities that do not meet the needs of taxpayers, and do not reflect local needs, conditions, or values.
We reported back in November 2015 that at least 25 governors had issued statements against allowing refugees from Syria to settle in their states. This opposition was partially fueled by the violent terrorist attacks in Paris earlier that month. Both U.S. and overseas newspapers reported the story, including Britain’s Daily Mail, which ran an article on November 16, 2015, headlined: “Now 24 Republican governors — and one Democrat — say they don’t want to accept Syrian refugees as President Obama recommits the United States to ‘do its part.'"
That article listed the states whose governors “have said no to Syrian refugees.” Wisconsin was one them. Another one was Indiana, whose governor, Mike Pence, is now vice president-elect.