Carroll, Coffman show divide on U.S. taking in Syrian refugees

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AURORA | The race for Colorado Congressional District 6 entered into the hotly debated discussion over whether to take in Syrian refugees fleeing Islamic State forces this week.

Both U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, and Democratic candidate state Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, spoke out on plans for the United States to take some of the thousands upon thousands of refugees that have streamed out of Syria and into the greater Middle East, Africa and Europe.

Shortly after multiple Republican governors across the country announced they would be doing what they could to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in their states, Rep. Coffman joined them in announcing that he opposed resettling Syrian refugees in Colorado.

“I’m opposed because we simply have no way of conducting background checks for screening Syrian refugees,” he told the Denver Post earlier this week.

Coffman previously participated in a Fox News broadcast in the wake of the Paris attacks, claiming that the situation “is what the world looks like without American leadership.”

Carroll, his likely challenger in the 2016 general election, put out a statement Wednesday afternoon in support of efforts by President Barack Obama and Gov. John Hickenlooper to take part in joining European allies and other nations in finding shelter for refugees within our borders.

“ISIS is inflicting terror on innocent people from Syria to Paris and now they have their targets set on the U.S,” Carroll said in the statement. “We must take down these terrorists and protect innocent people who desperately want freedom, whether they are refugees or good people still living in Syria.”

Carroll went on to add that the United States “has the most rigorous screening of refugees in the world, far more stringent than Europe. We need to join our allies in the world and do our part to stand with those who have been ravaged by ISIS terrorists. As such, I support the Commander in Chief and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in rigorously screening refugees and helping those who pass the screening to find a better life, rooted in freedom and democracy, in America.”

The divide between Rep. Mike Coffman and state Sen. Morgan Carroll is a parallel for the overall national debate on the issue, in which numerous Republican presidential hopefuls have pledged to take various measures, in Congress and their home states, to stymie the Obama administration’s efforts to aid in helping the Syrian refugee population.