US Senate candidates talk about refugees

HARRISBURG, Pa (WHTM) – U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey tweeted pictures Wednesday that show the Pennsylvania Republican personally signing a letter to President Obama.

The letter seeks the suspension of the program that allows thousands of Syrian refugees to enter the Unites States.

Several Democrats vying to challenge Toomey in next year’s general election offered comments on the reigning international issue since last week’s deadly terror attacks in Paris.

“I just came here to have a beer and meet some people,” Democratic candidate John Fetterman said.

The three-term mayor of the proud but struggling western Pennsylvania town of Braddock has received national attention for his efforts in revitalizing the formerly depressed and crime-ridden Pittsburgh suburb. Fetterman made several stops in the Midstate on Wednesday, including an evening meet and greet at Anthony’s Micropub on Harrisburg’s restaurant row.

“I think it’s telling that France, who was the victim of the cowardly attack that killed 129 of its citizens, they’re still taking in 30,000 refugees from Syria,” Fetterman said when asked about the international issues he’ll have to become familiar with if elected to a national seat. “And they haven’t turned away.”

Another Western Pennsylvania candidate, Democrat Katie McGinty, took to Twitter to offer thoughts on the refugee debate, writing in a series of tweets:

“The are trying to escape the same people who unleashed the unimaginable violence that erupted in Paris. We have always been a compassionate nation and that cannot change. However, it is critical that the federal government use all resources possible to ensure that all have been vetted. We must determine that they are not a threat before we allow them to be admitted to this country.”

During a campaign stop in Harrisburg on Wednesday, another Democrat offered support for continuing the Syrian refugee. Former three-star Navy admiral Joe Sestak says his experience in the military and as defense director for the U.S Security Council gave him personal knowledge of the strict security vetting required of international refugees entering the U.S.

“We have a very tough vetting process,” Sestak said. “In fact, we have a classified extra one that involves numerous agencies – Defense, State, Homeland Defense, the FBI – that vet and screen. We can do this.”

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