Polk supports resolution against Syrian refugees in NC

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Polk County Commissioners adopted a resolution in support of N.C. Governor Pat McCrory sending a letter to the president asking that the federal government cease sending Syrian refugees to North Carolina.

Commissioners met Monday, Dec. 7 and approved the resolution by a 4-1 vote, with commissioner Ray Gasperson being the sole vote against.

Gasperson at the beginning of the meeting motioned to take the item off the agenda, which was not approved. Gasperson said the county board has no rights regarding sending refugees in the state.

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Commissioner Michael Gage, who placed the item on the agenda, said he would like for the resolution to remain on the agenda.

During citizen comments, commissioners heard one resident against the county supporting the resolution.

Pamela Karet said she understands the governor and 10 republican members of the House of Representatives are asking that they do not accept any more Syrian refugees in the state of North Carolina. Karet said there is no reason given.

“America is a country of immigrants,” said Karet. “We all came from somewhere else looking for a better life. These people deserve a better life.”

She mentioned the horrible conditions these people have had to live in and be in fear for their lives.

“I think there’s room for them and we should have them here,” Karet told commissioners.

Gage said last week that he placed the item on the county’s agenda after being approached by a group of residents regarding their concern over the health and safety of their community.

“I think they need to look at the whole situation and evaluate it and I think that’s what the governor wanted when he sent his letter to the president,” Gage said last Friday. “We are a country that is based on immigrants. I just want to make sure they are not fast tracking people. I just want to make sure they are doing the same process with refugees that is done with anyone else.”

Gage said he simply wants North Carolina and Polk County to ensure the safety of everyone.

“That’s what my job is,” Gage said. “That’s why I was elected.”

Following is the resolution commissioners approved on Dec. 7.

“Whereas, the federal government has indicated that thousands of refugees from the Middle East will be relocated to the United States in the next few years through the Refugee Resettlement Program; and

Whereas, it is anticipated that states will receive these refugees through designated relocation agencies approved by the federal government; and

Whereas, the Governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory, has told the federal government to cease sending refuges to the state, saying” I’m now requesting that the president and the federal government cease sending refugees from Syria to North Carolina;” and

Whereas, the ten Republican members of North Carolina’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation issued a joint statement in support of Governor McCrory’s position on resettlement writing, in part, “…we have serious concerns about the ongoing resettlement of Syrian refugees to the communities we represent across North Carolina. As a delegation, we join with Governor McCrory in calling for the Obama Administration to immediately cease sending Syrian refugees to our state.”

Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Polk County Board of Commissioners supports the requests made by Governor McCrory and North Carolina’s U.S. House of Representatives delegation.”