Mayor Barry, Gov. Haslam differ on Syrian refugee placements

The Parthenon was lit in red white and blue lights in solidarity with the people of Paris and France.

The Parthenon was lit in red white and blue lights in solidarity with the people of Paris and France.

While Gov. Bill Haslam is asking the federal government not to send any Syrian refugees to Tennessee, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry is welcoming the refugees to Nashville.

Haslam, just like most other Republican governors, has asked federal officials Monday to stop sending Syrian refugees to Tennessee.

In a statement released Monday, he said: “As we mourn the loss of innocent life from Friday’s horrific and cowardly attacks in Paris, these terrible events have once again shown us that the threat of Islamic terrorism knows no boundaries and recognizes no borders. We as a state must do everything we can to provide Tennesseans the safe environment to live, work and raise a family that so many across the world seek.

“Since Friday, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has been in contact with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and this administration has actively shared information with our local public safety partners across Tennessee.

“We are currently working to get specifics from the U.S. Department of State on the status of any Syrian refugees currently slated to come to Tennessee. While screening, acceptance and placement is legally under the authority of the federal government, they have said in the past they would be open to cooperating with receiving states. Today I’m asking the federal government to suspend placements in Tennessee until states can become more of a partner in the vetting process.”

Conversely, Mayor Barry has said that she has the utmost confidence in the vetting of refugees by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department and that Nashville remains a welcoming city.

In an interview, Barry said: “Early indicators are that most, if not all the refugees we have here, have been through that very stringent process.”

“I think if you have been interviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and you’ve been interviewed by our State Department, I don’t know what other component needs to be addressed or introduced,” Barry said. “But clearly I’ll leave that to the federal government to make a decision.”

In solidarity with the people of Paris and France, Mayor Megan Barry had the Korean Veterans Bridge and the Historic Metro Courthouse be lit blue, white, and red, the colors of the French flag.

“My heart goes out to the people of France,” said Mayor Barry. “I know that all Nashvillians stand in solidarity with Parisians against these horrific terrorist attacks.”

“I have been in contact with Chief Steve Anderson and the police are taking appropriate precautions to strengthen security at the many activities occurring this weekend,” said Barry. “However, we all must remain vigilant and should report anything suspicious to law enforcement.”

The Metro Courthouse lights were changed on Friday night, and continued through Sunday. The Korean Veterans Bridge was lit Saturday and Sunday evening.

Mayor Barry attended a peaceful gathering on Sunday in solidarity and remembrance of the victims of the attacks and French people everywhere. The event was organized by Amelie de Gaulle, the Honorary Consul of France for Tennessee and took place in front of the Little Gourmand French Market, 2209 Bandywood Drive, Nashville 37215.

Additionally, on Sunday evening the Parthenon was lit in the colors of the French flag.