States may have little power in stopping refugees from entering - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

States may have little power in stopping refugees from entering

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Despite half of American governors vowing to block Syrian refugees from entering their respective states, there maybe little power for them to stop admitting the refuge-seekers.

The vow to block resulted from the revelation that at least one of the people suspected in the deadly attacks around Paris entered France as a refugee.

President Obama announced earlier this year the acceptance of 70,000 refugees from around the world. The number was raised to 80,000 later in the year.

Since the order was a federal mandate, there maybe little power on the state level in blocking them from coming, according to legal experts.

With this in mind, 34 U.S. governors joined a White House briefing on the Syrian refugee resettlement plan. On Monday, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who also joined Tuesday's briefing, requested a thorough review of that plan while also requesting the admission of no new refugees until the review is completed.

Nevada lawmakers - Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Joe Heck - backed Sandoval's request.

On Tuesday, Sen. Harry Reid also expressed the need for a thorough refugee intake.

"We need to continue to ensure that the vetting process on refugees is as strong as it possibly can be," Reid said in a statement. "Congress has an important role to play. Our first task is to get all the facts." 

RELATED: Refugee family in NV began fleeing Syria 4 years ago

In light of the fact that states may have little power in blocking refugees, Sandoval issued an order to re-establish the state's homeland security group, which focuses on selecting projects eligible for federal funding.

As for incoming refugees, at least one resettlement agency, the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc., said it takes up to seven years of interviews and health screenings before an individual can enter the country.

"If there is anyone who is screened, truly utmost, any group coming to the U.S., it's the refugees," said Redda Mehari with the council.

In the initial interview, authorities ask the applicant who he or she is and why that person claims to be a refugee. The second interview, which is conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, verifies whether the applicant is a refugee by legal definition.

According to Mehari, the definition may classify "somebody being persecuted or has a well-founded fear of persecution for a different reason," including religion, gender and political views, among other reasons.

After the Homeland Security interview, a health screening takes place to make sure the person is not bringing in any diseases that could affect the population.

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