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News / City Life

LA County Board of Supervisors votes to welcome Syrian refugees

Solidarity with Refugee March
Courtesy: danielsaville/Flickr A Solidarity with Refugees March takes place in London on September 12, 2015

Racial tensions, especially relating to Islamophobia, have been running high for the past few weeks—only heightened in California by the San Bernardino shootings and Donald Trump's recent comments about banning all Muslims from entering the US.

Now the LA County Board of Supervisors took a stand in support of welcoming Syrian refugees in a split vote earlier today. They also voted to send a letter to President Obama and the LA County congressional delegates to express their support.

This vote was initiated by a heated debate that broke out a few weeks ago in the US over whether Syrian refugees should be allowed in the US after several state governors voiced concerns about the possibility of letting extremists into the country during that process. Similar debates have been going on in countries across the world. 

According to the LA Times, board supervisor Michael D. Antonovich was the most vocal about keeping the refugees from entering the country. He is quoted as saying that there are government officials "warning of a serious problem with the vetting processes that are in place" and "certain gaps that I don't want to talk about publicly in the data available to us."

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who proposed the bill, countered that the vetting process is "thorough, smart and effective," the Times reports.

LA County doesn't directly make decisions about admitting refugees, but it sends a message, including to the Department of Public Social Services, which is responsible for social welfare programs for refugees in the area—a small percentage of which are Syrian.

What do think about the vote? Did LA County make the right decision?