RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Virginia Christian Alliance is slamming the idea of letting Syrian refugees settling in the Commonwealth, citing safety concerns, but Governor Terry McAuliffe dismisses much of the talk as "political rhetoric."
"It's about the safety and security of our own people," said Don Blake who is president of the Virginia Christian Alliance. "We have to worry about our own people before we bring in thousands of people from across the ocean."
Blake is speaking out against allowing Syrian Refugees into the Commonwealth. "Many people think it's a way of occupying our country," said Blake. "It's in the Qur'an (or Koran). Go out and make an Islamic State throughout the world."
After the terror attacks in Paris, the Virginia Christian Alliance is just the latest group to slam plans for the U.S. to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.
"There needs to be more conversation about this," said Blake. "One man, the governor of Virginia, or one man, the President of the United States, should not make these decisions that are impacting, in Virginia, 8 million people."
Several people have expressed their concerns on Facebook. "Allowing refugees into our state is a danger to our nation and to the people of the United States especially VA!," said an NBC12 Facebook fan in a letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "Terry, you have got to stand up against Obama Now!"
Gov. McAuliffe says Virginia is on heightened alert.
"We have no specific threats right now here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but we are all on heightened alert as we should be," said Gov. McAuliffe. "So we are taking every precaution we can to keep everybody safe."
McAuliffe says his hands are tied when it comes to allowing Syrian refugees to settle in Virginia.
"The governors have absolutely no say in refugee resettlement. Absolutely none," said Gov. McAullife. The United States Constitution has made it very clear. The smart thing to do is to work with the federal government because they are going to bring refugees and to do it in a manner that keeps us safe. That's my job as governor."
Commonwealth Catholic Charities says they have settled four Syrian refugees in Virginia since 2011.
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