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Sandoval seeks opinion on his power to slow Syrian refugee flow

CARSON CITY — Gov. Brian Sandoval on Wednesday asked for a legal opinion from Attorney General Adam Laxalt on the governor’s authority over the relocation and resettlement processes for refugees in Nevada.

The move comes amid heightened and growing concerns about security following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and President Barack Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 refugees from worn-torn Syria into the country next year.

More than half the nation’s governors, many of them Republicans like Sandoval, have objected to refugees from Iraq and Syria locating in their states, and many lawmakers and others have called on Obama to halt the process until a review of security measures and procedures for background checks is scrutinized.

Sandoval said state agencies have confirmed there are about 2,400 refugees from more than two dozen countries living in Nevada.

He participated in a call with the White House and other governors on Tuesday to discuss security procedures in place for refugee resettlement, a program under federal jurisdiction.

Sandoval also received a briefing from the state refugee coordinator with Catholic Charities, the agency responsible for managing refugee relocation in Nevada and in conjunction with the federal government.

A review of state and federal law indicates the governor lacks authority to halt refugee placement in Nevada, but Sandoval asked Obama to “pause” the process until a more thorough review of security procedures is completed.

“While the process for security clearance appears to have been sufficient for many years, circumstances in Syria today are different, and the world situation has clearly changed,” Sandoval’s office said in a statement updating the governor’s actions and concerns.

Sandoval on Wednesday also announced he was moving up the date of the next Homeland Security Commission meeting to Dec. 2, and will be issuing an executive order regarding the Nevada Threat Analysis Center and coordination of security information.

Contact Sandra Chereb at schereb@reviewjournal.com or 775-687-3901. Find her on Twitter: @SandraChereb

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