Ravalli commissioners want safety assurances before opening door - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Ravalli commissioners want safety assurances before opening doors to Syrian refugees

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Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott (MTN News photo/Dennis Bragg) Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott (MTN News photo/Dennis Bragg)

Ravalli County commissioners say a proposed letter to the federal government about the relocation of Syrian refugees is being driven by safety concerns, and not by objections to the refugees' plight. 

County commissioners are scheduling a hearing in Hamilton to consider the draft letter expressing concerns about relocating any Syrian refugees in the Bitterroot.

"Our concern stems from the testimony before Congressman by the Director of Homeland Security, as well the Director of the FBI who can not without reservation say these refugees have been adequately vetted and will not be a direct danger to our community," Ravalli County Commissioner Greg Chilcott said.

"And unless and until they can qualify that they're going to adequately vetted, and our community and our citizens will be safe, we do not want to receive these refugees into our community," he added.

Concern over refugee resettlement in the region started in North Idaho a few weeks ago and was also expressed during a rally in Missoula. In fact, Chilcott says it was Missoula County's stance supporting relocation which is prompting the Ravalli County letter.

"We're looking for the assurance from the agencies that are vetting these refugees to tell us they've been adequately reviewed, that their application has been reviewed, and they're not going to be a threat to our community or our citizens," Chilcott explained.

A hearing is set for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Hamilton.

RELATED: Ravalli Co. Commissioners opposed to taking in Syrian refugees

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