20 Nov 2015

Hawaii would welcome refugees - Governor

9:44 am on 20 November 2015
Hawaii Governor David Ige

Hawaii Governor David Ige (L) shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo on June 16, 2015. Photo: TORU HANAI / POOL / AFP

Hawaii's Governor David Ige says the state would welcome refugees from Syria with aloha.

In a statement, Governor Ige says Hawaii and the U.S. have a long history of welcoming refugees affected by war and oppression.

His spokeswoman Jodi Leong says it's too early to speculate on how many may come to Hawaii as the Governor hasn't been contacted by President Barack Obama or his administration.

The Governor says Hawaii is the Aloha State, known for its tradition of welcoming all people with tolerance and mutual respect.

He says the U.S. accepts refugees only after conducting the highest level of screening and security checks.

Governor Ige says Hawaii would work with the Federal Government to ensure the State has the resources to help refugees.

Hawaii is one of only seven US states whose Governors have said they would accept Syrian refugees following the terror attacks in Paris on November the 13th.

Authorities say seven of the perpetrators died in the attacks, and one is believed to have been a Syrian who entered Europe via Greece with refugees.

Meanwhile, in a new development, the US House of Representatives has this morning passed a bill suspending a programme to admit Syrian refugees.

Many Democrats split from the President, Barack Obama, to back the bill, which forces the administration to intensify its vetting of refugees.

It means no refugees from Syria or Iraq can enter the United States until several top-level U.S. security officials verify they do not pose a threat.