Idaho Governor Expresses Concern About Syrian Refugees

IDAHO FALLS – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says he is concerned about the Syrian refugees scheduled to arrive in Twin Falls Oct. 1.
Otter spoke to KID Newsradio Thursday saying government’s responsibility is ensuring the safety of the people and officials’ ability to defend against terrorism. Listen:

“We need to be assured that they are vetted,” Otter said, adding there is nothing he can do as a Governor because refugees are a state department issue.

Otter says he has expressed his concern to Idaho’s Congressional delegation. An additional concern, according to the Republican, is that the refugees could be on Idaho’s welfare program for up to eight months after they arrive. He says it is unclear Idaho will get help on paying for those costs.

“We are going to continue to question,” Otter said.

The Times-News reports that Twin Falls Republican Rep. Steve Hartgen and others have also expressed concern about the refugees. Hartgen, Republican Reps. Lance Clow and Clark Kauffman and Democratic Rep. Donna Pence met with federal officials Tuesday about the vetting process for refugees.

More than 700 people attended a forum Tuesday in Twin Falls about the refugee process. Opposition has arisen in the area after it was announced that some of the refugees arriving in Twin Falls would be from Syria.