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John Kerry defends 'thorough' Syrian refugee screening in letter to Rick Scott

via @learyreports

Secretary of State John Kerry sent a letter to Gov. Rick Scott that defends the vetting process for Syrian refugees as “extraordinarily thorough and comprehensive.”

“Bottom line—under the current system, if there is doubt about whether an applicant would pose a security risk, that individual will not be admitted to the United States as a refugee,” reads the letter, co-signed by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Scott was one of more than two dozen Republican governors who have pledged to block more Syrian refugees and wrote to a letter to President Obama on Friday urging him to suspend the program.

"Our multi-agency system for vetting refugees is strong, and it has been significantly enhanced over the past few years. Indeed, applicants for refugee admission are screened more carefully than any other type of traveler to the United States, the letter reads.

"We have tremendous faith in this system's ability to detect, investigate, and disrupt terrorist plotting in this country, as it has done repeatedly. With these measures in place, we believe that we are able to both protect the American people and maintain this Nation's long standing position as the world's beacon of hope and freedom.

"Our highest priority is the protection of the American people. We look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure our Nation lives up to its humanitarian heritage while keeping the American people safe."

Read Kerry's letter here.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times