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Vigilance in the Face of Terror

The horrific and inhumane acts of terror perpetrated in Paris over the weekend are reminders of the critical role of homeland security and how vigilant we must remain in the fight against terrorism. Some of the attackers reportedly posed as refugees to gain entrance into France — an issue that should concern all Americans.

As governor, my chief responsibility is to keep our state and people safe, which is why I have decided to oppose Arkansas being used as a relocation center for Syrian refugees.

I urge President Obama and Congress to act to protect our country during this time of heightened global tension. While we don’t have the authority on the state level to change federal policy, my fellow governors and I do have a duty to protect our states’ citizens, and we have a personal responsibility to act when we have the power to do so.

Like all Americans, Arkansans hurt for the Syrian refugees. The hardships they face are beyond most of our understanding, and my thoughts and prayers are with them, but I will not support a policy that poses real risk to Americans.

It is also not the best solution. Europe, Asia and Africa are more logical places for resettlement or temporary asylum. I know that the United States will support our European friends in fighting ISIL, but the right strategy is not for this country to become a permanent place of relocation.

We live in a world where terrorists coordinate attacks on innocent civilians at a soccer game, fly airplanes into office buildings and eagerly trade their lives to murder others — often in the name of religious zealotry and hatred of the West.

We ignore these realities at our peril. We ignore this world at the risk of another terrorist attack. And another. And another.

Without some degree of certainty that refugees from Syria will not provide cover for terrorists, I cannot in good conscience allow my state to be their sanctuary.

We cannot let our guard down in the face of terror.


Note: This article was originally published in the November 18, 2015 edition of USA Today.

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