In the aftermath of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt said the U.S. should halt the acceptance of Syrian refugees until screening procedures "are thorough enough to prevent terrorists from entering our state."
Daudt's position was outlined in a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton Monday, who earlier in the day issued a statement saying he has "been assured by the White House that all refugees are subject to the highest level of security checks."
He added that his "first priority is to protect the safety of the people of Minnesota."
Dayton's response contrasts with calls by a growing number of Republican governors threatening to bar Syrian refugees from entering their state. Their fear is that terrorists will slip into the country as the U.S. prepares to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria in the coming months.
Some experts, however, point out that governors opposed to accepting refugees don't have the authority to block them from entering their state.
Daudt in his letter cited news reports that suggest screening procedures for refugees are inadequate and that one of eight attackers in Paris had visited Syria prior to the attacks. Those concerns, he said, should be addressed before Minnesota accepts refugees.
Federal officials have insisted the vetting of refugees will be through.