- Associated Press - Thursday, November 26, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - One of the Vermont Republicans seeking his party’s nomination to run for governor next year says he’s become more comfortable with the vetting of Syrian refugees after learning more about how refugees are screened before they are brought to the United States.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott had called for a pause in allowing Syrian refugees to be settled in Vermont following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. Scott’s primary opponent, Bruce Lisman, has called for a similar pause.

“I’m still learning about the process but after being on a State Department conference call last week and meeting with the commissioner and deputy commissioner (of the Department of Public Safety) as well as State Police officials yesterday, I’m getting more comfortable,” Scott told the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus. (https://bit.ly/1IjsbxZ). “I think the process, on its face, looks safe.”

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, who is not seeking re-election next year, has been vocal in his call to bring Syrian refugees to Vermont as a humanitarian gesture. He has said all refugees are thoroughly vetted before being brought to this country.

Where Syrian refugees are resettled has become an issue across the country since the Paris attacks. A number of governors have said they do not want their states to accept Syrian refugees, but individual states do not have the legal authority to block refugee placement.

Some fear terrorists could reach the United States through the refugee resettlement process.

State refugee coordinators are consulted by the federal government and the nine refugee resettlement agencies that have contracts with the government, but that consultation is largely to ensure the refugees are settled in cities with adequate jobs, housing and social services.

There are no Syrian refugees in Vermont, but a small number are expected.

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