McCrory criticized for not joining White House call on refugees

McCrory criticized for not joining White House call on refugees

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT/AP) - A General Assembly oversight committee has endorsed Gov. Pat McCrory's request for President Barack Obama's administration to halt the relocation of Syrian refugees to North Carolina until there are more security assurances.

The commission voted Wednesday night to support McCrory's call, issued in light of the Paris terrorist attacks. McCrory is among the majority of governors nationwide that have raised concerns, worried that terrorists would pose as refugees to enter the country. French warplanes have been striking at Islamic State targets in Syria.

The motion and vote came after McCrory Deputy Chief of Staff Jimmy Broughton addressed the panel and explained the governor's reasoning. Broughton said about 60 Syrian refugees have been resettled in North Carolina since last year.

White House officials discussed the issue Tuesday with governors and other state officials during a conference call. McCrory spokesman Graham Wilson said the governor did not participate because of a scheduled flight to a Republican Governors Association meeting. NC Secretary of Public Safety Frank Perry did take part in the call and briefed the governor.

"It was a good first step, but we need the White House to understand that we are all on the same team," McCrory said in a press release. "The president has to understand that concerns of the states are legitimate and need to be addressed."

Some members of the commission criticized McCrory for not taking part in the call himself.

"All members of the General Assembly and citizens of our country are concerned about national and international safety," said Rep. Susi Hamilton (D-New Hanover). "If McCrory is serious, why didn't he participate in the conversation? Public safety should transcend partisan politics."

Copyright 2015 WECT. The Associated Press contributed material to this report.