Front-running Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant wants a compassionate but cautious approach to settling Syrian refugees in Washington state to include “strict screenings,” according to a statement made Monday.
“While most Syrian refugees are also just looking for a new start in a free country, we should not let our compassion blind us to legitimate public and personal safety concerns and to those who might take advantage of our generosity and openness,” Bryant said. “We should act compassionately only after it is clear strict screenings have been completed.”
Bryant also indirectly sparred with the man he will almost certainly face next year on the campaign trail, Gov. Jay Inslee.
Earlier Monday, Inslee issued a statement on the Syrian refugee question in which he compared the present-day Syrian exodus to the Vietnamese refugee crisis in the 1970s.
“We have been and will continue to be a state that embraces compassion and eschews fear mongering, as evidenced so well by Republican Gov. Dan Evans’ welcoming of Vietnamese refugees here in the 1970s,” Inslee said.
Bryant disagreed with Inslee’s somewhat flawed history lesson.
“Our situation today is very different from when our state welcomed Vietnamese refugees. I know. I tutored some of those refugees who arrived looking for a new life,” Bryant said.