Protesters Rally, Support Syrian Refugees In TN

Posted at 10:29 PM, Nov 23, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-23 23:29:41-05

Supporters of Syrian refugees trying to find safe haven in the U.S. rallied on Tennessee's Capitol Hill Monday night.

Since the terrorist attacks on Paris, many state governors, including Governor Bill Haslam has asked the federal government to stop taking in Syrian refugees.

Yet, demonstrators wanted to show lawmakers and Haslam that not everyone was afraid of refugees and the federal process that will bring them here.

Organizers said they protested to stand with and support these Syrian refugees who are in need.

About 300 people marched on Legislative Plaza to listen to speakers and show support. The woman who helped organize the protest started the movement with a Facebook page.

“We want to welcome refugees. We stand with these people who are seeking to flee from terror, seeking a land of the free and home of the brave, and I believe that's what America is. And I think that's what Tennessee is,” said organizer Hannah Fletcher-Page.

However, on Monday, Governor Haslam told the Nashville Rotary Club that last Monday his office received more phone calls on the Syrian Refugee issue than on any other issue since he's been in office.

He said there's a real fear in Tennessee and nationwide.

Haslam has asked President Obama to freeze the process until people better understand how it works, and to let states be part of the in the vetting process.

Under the President's plan, Tennessee would probably get 200 refugees.

Haslam said it would not be unreasonable to include checks by the TBI and state homeland security.

“That's not unfathomable for our Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security to be involved in part of that process, but so far the White House has just said, no, just flat no and I think you have a certain frustration from governors all over the country in both parties to that reaction,” said Haslam.

He said he's more comfortable today with the federal vetting process than he was several days ago.

However, the bottom line is this is a federal issue that the states can do nothing about.