OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wants the city of Pontiac to stop its support of Syrian refugee housing.
Patterson sent a letter to Mayor Deidre Waterman to stop the housing, owned by Live in Pontiac LLC and Pontiac Community Investment LLC. Patterson cited "lax" immigration policies of the federal government.
In light of the Paris attacks, Patterson said that there would be no way to guarantee there would not be ISIS infiltrators as one of the key reasons the program should stop.
Patterson oversees Homeland Security for the county, which is about 1.3 million.
“Any program such as the acceptance of refugees from Syria under current conditions constitutes an immediate threat of imminent danger,” said Patterson, who oversees Homeland Security for Oakland County’s nearly 1.3 million residents. “I am not overreacting to the tragedy that befell Paris. I am pointing out that lax immigration policies contributed to this terror.
“While the Syrian Refugee Village may have been a well-intentioned program initially, can you or your partners from Live in Pontiac, LLC… give the residents of Pontiac absolute assurance that the refugees they intend to house in their ‘community’ would not contain one or two ISIS infiltrators? Of course you can’t. Therein lies the risk."
But Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner issued a statement saying that while he agrees with reviewing of the current policy for vetting refugees "in light of recent events,” he disagrees with halting the project.
"Patterson's comments politicize a project that will bring much-needed economic development to Pontiac and provide housing for people desperately in need who have undergone exhaustive background checks," Meisner said. "Please remember that Oakland County is made up of many thousands of Americans born in other countries, including many where terrible things happened, and that they are contributing greatly to Oakland County's prosperity and security every day."
FOX 2's Taryn Asher will have more on the story tonight at 10.