From Orlando Sentinel‘s Gray Rohrer, 11/16/2015:
Gov. Rick Scott on Monday opposed efforts to resettle Syrian refugees in Florida, and he called on Congress to ensure they are denied entry to the Sunshine State.
Scott joined governors in nearly two dozen states taking similar stands against resettling Syrians fleeing a civil war in their country in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday. One of the perpetrators reportedly entered into France posing as a refugee.
In a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan and U.S. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, Scott said he’s ordering Department of Children and Families, the state agency overseeing refugee services in Florida, not to cooperate with a federal request to place 425 Syrian refugees in the state.
But fearing refugees could still be placed in Florida since the federal government controls immigration policy, Scott also urged Congress to pass legislation or to withhold funds for Syrian refugee resettlement.
“Please take any action available through the powers of the United States Congress to prevent federal allocations toward the relocation of Syrian refugees without extensive examination into how this would affect our homeland security,” the letter reads in part.
But Scott’s numbers were wrong, and debunked by the State Department. From Politico’s Matt Dixon, 11/18/2015:
Ever since last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris, Gov. Rick Scott has been a mainstay on national news outlets criticizing President Obama’s plan to relocate 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States.
“They want to put 425 in Florida,” Scott told Fox News’ Stuart Varney on Tuesday, adding “get the facts before you continue to proceed.”
But Scott didn’t get all the facts himself.
Despite his repeated suggestions, that 425 number didn’t come from Obama’s administration at all. It’s an estimate culled from 25 “resettlement agencies” located in Florida.
And the 425 figure isn’t tied solely to Syrian refugees. It represents the capacity Florida has to accept additional refugees from anywhere in the world, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families, one of Scott’s own agencies.
In addition, federal officials say they have not discussed a specific number of Syrian refugees that could come to Florida.
“We have not asked Florida to take 425 refugees,” a State Department official told POLITICO Florida. “No specific number of Syrian refugees has been discussed with the governor of Florida.”