Fla. House speaker admits state can’t thoroughly vet refugees, thanks Trump for bold and protective action

The Republican speaker of the Florida House of Representatives applauded President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, but also criticized the way the federal government has communicated with states like his.

“He’s saying the first and foremost thing I am going to do is protect the American people,” Richard Corcoran told Fox 13 News, referring to Trump’s temporary ban on refugees.

The speaker thanked the president for the order in a letter Friday,  adding that he would like to meet with the Trump team in the near future.

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“Your bold action in recent executive orders demonstrates that enforcement of immigration laws and security of our borders are more than just campaign promises and will be priorities in your administration,” Corcoran wrote. “Thank you for fighting to correct past neglect, and, on behalf of the Florida House of Representatives, I offer my support.”

Corcoran informed the president that the Florida House of Representatives is “seriously re-evaluating” if the state will continue to accept refugees as the state cannot institute its own vetting procedures.

“Despite the state’s legitimate concern with security risks — a concern even more compelling in Florida given recent tragedies perpetrated by terrorists — there is no opportunity for Florida to institute more rigorous scrutiny of people coming to our state and receiving our services,” Corcoran wrote.

The present arrangement between the federal and state agencies was “unacceptable and an abrogation of our duty to protect the safety of Florida residents,” Corcoran told Trump in his letter.

The Speaker noted that in 2016, 1,200 refugees resettled in Florida from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received “no information about these individuals.”

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“We are looking for a robust discussion on asserting state’s rights and our ability to do those things for our citizens which we are uniquely capable to do far better than the Federal government,” he told Fox 13 News.

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