By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J., (CBS) — Chris Christie’s campaign statements have now become official state policy in New Jersey. The Governor has fired off a letter to the White House, informing President Obama the Garden State will not accept Syrian civil war refugees.READ MORE: Philadelphia Weather: Frigid Friday Morning With Bitter Cold Air Blanketing The Region
Citing what the letter calls a “broken federal monitoring system” to screen out potential ISIS supporters amongst refugees, Christie says that “opening our door to them irresponsibly exposes our fellow Americans to unacceptable peril.”
The Governor has ordered state agencies not to assist in federal relocation efforts and calls on private agencies that do to tell the state about it. Among the agencies copied in the letter to the President is Catholic Charities of Camden.READ MORE: Letter Threatening African Americans Found At Family Dollar In Powelton Section, Police Say
New Jersey Democrats are coming to Mister Obama’s defense, with leaders insisting Christie’s opposition flies in the face of America’s long history of welcoming immigrants. Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, in a statement, said New Jersey must be “better than the Governor’s Xenophobia”.
And it appears Christie may not have a legal leg to stand on.
Mount Laurel Immigration Attorney Joseph Connell, contacted by KYW Newsradio, suggests the President has case law going all the way to the Supreme Court on his side. “The President is vested with wide authority to allow anyone to enter into the country that can articulate and document a credible fear,” Connell said.MORE NEWS: Viral Photo Appears To Show North Penn School District Teacher Taping Mask To Student's Face
But at the same time, he believes governors like Christie do carry a good deal of clout once those refugees were to arrive. “The states can make them feel unwanted and unwelcome,” he says. “That is a capacity they have by how they treat them when they arrive here. How they may be segregated and how they may be limited as far as state funded benefits are concerned. That sort of thing.”