Waterford Twp board passes ordinance to block Syrian refugees

- A local suburb is refusing to roll out the welcome mat for Syrian refugees.

Many of those opposed to the refugee resettlement program say they're concerned about possible terrorism.

A unanimous decision was reached by the Waterford board to say despite what the federal government is saying about accepting Syrian refugees, the township says until the vetting process is fixed; it is really a symbolic gesture.

The township board might have been on the same page when it comes to not wanting Waterford to resettle any Syrian refugees, citing health and economics but safety was the biggest reason for their choice.

"The evidence that we got from law enforcement is that it's a problem the vetting isn't working like they say it's working," said Gary Wall, Waterford Township supervisor.

But those in the audience who spoke during public comment had a nearly even split opinion - going back and forth for an hour and 15 minutes.

"What we going to do with the refugees if they come in here, feed them, house them, clothe them," asked one resident. "We can't afford that. We have veterans who need help."

"I've never been embarrassed to be a Waterford resident until this," said Scott Hancock.

"If they can't provide for themselves and can't be vetted, I don't want them," said resident Raymond Brown.

"There is always this kind of dissension when it there's new people but we are a country of diversity," said Pat McClerron.

There were those who claim to have knowledge of the refugee relocation program in the state, who say refugees have not proven to be dangerous.

And one doctor says he knows first-hand they are already here.

"In Detroit we have 1,000 refugees who have been resettled," said Dr. Hada Daia of the Syrian American Rescue Network. "Two in Waterford."

Others point to issues of terrorism in Europe, Germany specifically, as reasons not to get involved.  But ultimately this resolution will do little but state an opinion on the record.

"It's an opinion, we can't supersede federal laws," Wall said. "Letting others know this is where we stand on this issue."

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