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Alan Levin: "could not disagree more" with Gov. Markell on refugees

Delaware Public Media

Former state economic development director Alan Levin is among those blasting Gov. Jack Markell (D) for continuing to support relocating Syrian refugees in Delaware.

In a comment on Markell’s Facebook page Monday night, Levin said he “could not disagree more” with his point of view.

He noted that the governor couldn’t guarantee the federal government would properly vet any refugee, saying, “Send them relief and aid but do not subject us to this problem.”

Levin’s comment echoes the sentiments of Republican lawmakers throughout the state who wrote to Markell Monday asking him to reverse his position. "While the governor and I agreed on many things, the Syrian refugees were not one of them," Levin wrote in a text message.

Markell initially told the News Journal in September that he supports President Obama shepherding in 10,000 more Syrian refugees next year and that he’s willing to host them in Delaware.

“We have always been compassionate and kind to those facing danger and injustice, and in our diversity we have found great strength,” Markell wrote in a Facebook post, calling the United States a welcoming nation.

He did signal a slight shift in policy, saying now he would expect federal officials to provide or pay for any services refugees may need if they settle in Delaware.

As of Tuesday morning, 26 governors across the country have decried resettling those fleeing the country’s civil war that has killed more than 200,000 over the past four-and-a-half years according to the United Nations.

They say they fear terrorists slipping in among them, pointing to one of the suicide bombers in Friday’s attack on Paris whose body was found next to a passport of a Syrian refugee.

Levin was one of Markell’s longest tenured cabinet members, serving as director of DEDO from 2009 until earlier this year when he left to work as an advisor to restaurant conglomerate SoDel Concepts.

Republicans courted him to run for governor in 2008, but he eventually declined. In interviews with Delaware Public Media throughout this year, Levin also said he wasn’t interested in seeking the open seat in 2016.  

"I have not changed my decision regarding the race for governor," he said in a text message to Delaware Public Media.

The GOP's only candidate for governor with experience in a statewide race, state Sen. Colin Bonini (R-Dover South), is considering dropping his campaign, potentially leaving former state trooper Lacey Lafferty as the only one seeking the Republican nomination.

Bonini was among state Republicans Monday criticizing Markell's stance on accepting refugees and called on him to reverse course.

“Here in Delaware, the safety of our people must come first,” said Bonini in a statement. “There are no databases that can tell us who may be arriving on our shores, and what their intentions are. Taking all the facts into consideration, I request you immediately suspend all Syrian refugee relocation into the state of Delaware until the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can do a full review of the security procedures and clearances of refugees.”

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