Gov. Jerry Brown asks White House for more information on refugees


Nancy McFadden, a top aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, said the governor wants the federal government to share more information.

(Robert Durell / For The Times)

California Gov. Jerry Brown was on the phone with White House officials on Tuesday to press for more information on Syrian refugees, one of the governor’s top aides confirmed.

Brown has said refugees would be welcome in California as long as they receive proper vetting from the federal government. However, he wants the federal government to share more information with state officials, said the aide, Nancy McFadden.

“We should know what you’re doing,” she said during a Thursday event hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California. “You need to keep us apprised of the advances in your vetting system.

McFadden added, “We need to be a check on you, basically.”


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In a subsequent interview, she demurred when asked whether Brown had security concerns, which have led at least 31 governors to say refugees from Syria would not be welcome in their states. 

Brown wants to “know what’s going on in the state,” McFadden said. “He doesn’t want you to say, ‘Hey, I just heard from somebody that there are 400 Syrian refugees somewhere,’ and he doesn’t know it.”

Brown’s participation in the Tuesday conference call, which included other governors as well, was first reported by Bloomberg. 


Asked if Washington planned to address the concerns, McFadden said “it’s a work in progress." 

In the 12 months ended on Sept. 30, 179 Syrians have come to California, according to the State Department. That number is expected to increase if President Obama’s plan to accept 10,000 Syrians takes effect.

Follow @chrismegerian for more updates from Sacramento.

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