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County Executive Patterson Demands Pontiac Not Accept Syrian Refugees

ScottWrightadTOPCounty Executive Patterson Demands Pontiac Not Accept Syrian Refugees

(C. Proxmire, Nov. 18, 2015)


Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson wants to put an end to a development project in Pontiac specifically for Syrian refugees.

According to The Oakland Press, developers have purchased 120 lots on 10 Pontiac city blocks west of Woodward near Franklin to build the new homes, along with a school building to use as a community center.  But Wednesday Patterson ordered County Department Heads to cease any involvement with the project, and sent a letter to the Mayor demanding that she not allow the project to continue.

Syrian refugees are people who have been fleeing Syria because of Civil War.  More than 11 million people have been murdered or forced from their homes, and other countries, like the United States, have been providing a safe place for them to escape to.  A simple explanation can be found at

Patterson’s office sent out the following press release Wednesday afternoon:

“Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson urged Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman to discontinue her support of housing Syrian refugees in buildings owned by Live In Pontiac LLC and Pontiac Community Investment LLC in a letter he sent to her office today. Patterson cited the lax immigration policies of the federal government and the inability to guaranty there will be no ISIS infiltrators among the refugees as reasons the project should not move forward.

“Any program such as the acceptance of refugees from Syria under current conditions constitutes an immediate threat of imminent danger,” said Patterson, who oversees Homeland Security for Oakland County’s nearly 1.3 million residents. “I am not overreacting to the tragedy that befell Paris. I am pointing out that lax immigration policies contributed to this terror.”

“While the Syrian Refugee Village may have been a well-intentioned program initially, can you or your partners from Live in Pontiac, LLC… give the residents of Pontiac absolute assurance that the refugees they intend to house in their ‘community’ would not contain one or two ISIS infiltrators? Of course you can’t. Therein lies the risk,” Patterson said.

Patterson acknowledged that Ismael Basha and Malaz Alatassi had good intentions but that he must consider the safety of all Oakland County residents first.

“I don’t question the motives of Basha and Alatassi, both who are Syrian refugees themselves. What’s happening in Syria is nothing short of genocide with an estimated nine million Syrians who have fled their homes in search of a safe haven. I suggest they are blinded by the magnitude of the tragedy,” Patterson said.

“But there is now indisputable evidence (I refer to the Syrian passport recovered in Paris) that the ranks of the refugees have been and will continue to be infiltrated by those who would harm or kill us,” Patterson said. “I owe it to the residents of Oakland County to stop this Syrian Refugee Village from going forward, to send out an alert to the public of what constitutes an imminent threat, and to demand that this project be stopped now.”

Patterson has ordered all departments under the county executive not to support Pontiac, Basha and Alatassi in bringing Syrian refugees to Pontiac. He also has insisted Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner cease his role in the project.”

The passport referred to in the press release has been reported by The New York Times to have been either stolen or fake.

The Treasurer is elected directly by the people, and does not fall under Patterson’s supervision.  Meisner released a statement in response to Patterson’s demand, saying ”

“National security and protection of the homeland come first, and review of current policy for vetting refugees from Syria and every other country, for that matter, is appropriate in light of recent events.

“Mr. Patterson’s comments politicize a project that will bring much-needed economic development to Pontiac and provide housing for people desperately in need who have undergone exhaustive background checks.

“Please remember that Oakland County is made up of many thousands of Americans born in other countries, including many where terrible things happened, and that they are contributing greatly to Oakland County’s prosperity and security every day.”

Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman is expected to comment shortly, and this story will be updated once that information, or other info, is available.


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