Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…

The following is a “response” I got from the Iowa Governor’s office about why Terry Branstad will not allow us to accept Syrian refugees. And…my response to “them.”

March 8, 2016

Dear Christopher,
Thank you for contacting the Governor’s office and expressing your thoughts about Syrian refugees being placed in Iowa. Please accept my apology for the delay in our response.

Iowa has a long history of welcoming refugees to our state. However, in light of the recent acts of terrorism in Paris and San Bernardino, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds have told the federal government that the State of Iowa is halting any work on Syrian refugee resettlements happening in the state. Governor Branstad’s priority is to ensure the safety of Iowans. In the past though, the federal government has failed to be forthcoming and transparent with information on refugee resettlement and immigration issues.

On January 6, 2016, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds sent a letter to Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and John Kerry, the Secretary of State, urging them to improve the vetting and information-sharing processes for Syrian refugees that the federal government proposes to resettle in Iowa. The inability of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to proactively verify the identity and personal information of refugees or to detect deception adds to the risk that a prospective refugee is not actually a refugee.

As you probably know, Iowa has a long history of admitting refugees and we will continue our commitment to assisting refugees in relocating to the state of Iowa. This year it is expected that Iowa will welcome over 800 refugees from around the world. However, according to the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, the Islamic State has clearly threatened that it will use Syrian refugees to harm the United States. Until these threats are eliminated, or significantly reduced, the Governor has urged the Federal government to change the process of admitting Syrian refugees to our nation and the state of Iowa.

Again, thank you for contacting Governor Branstad’s office. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us by calling 515-281-5211.


Office of the Governor
Nic Pottebaum, Policy Advisor


Oh wonderful. An anonymous response from an anonymous Governor. Terry Brandstad is a heartless bureaucrat, so I suspect I should have expected nothing less. Syrian (and other) refugees are properly vetted for security before they enter our country, which is why we have had no terrorist incidents associated with them. I hope Terry doesn’t ever say he wants this to be a “Christian country.” Because he doesn’t.

C. Christopher Epting
VIII Bishop of Iowa (Ret.)

2 Responses to “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor…”

  1. Alan scarfe Says:


    These were exactly same reasons given when bishop pates and I had a face to face with brandtsd on the children at the border situation a couple of years back. All the federal government fault for not being specific. Obama trying to out th in the spot. And make them look bad!

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