Gov. Kasich on decision to refuse Syrian refugees

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 16, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, 15 states, at least as of this hour, have said no to taking these refugees in if they ever have the option. Many will tell you the federal government is the decider of this. Try telling that to Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, who joins us on the phone.

So, Governor, you would say no to these refugees. Why?


Well, I think, Neil, look, this is not a matter of heart. As you know, I have been accused at times of having too big a heart. And the fact is, is that we have to be secure. And right now, when you hear James Clapper, the head of the National Security Agency, and FBI officials, everybody else is saying, we don't have on effective way to vet them, then you can't be in a position of where you let them in.

Now we're doing everything we can do. I'm not sure that a state can stop -- we're looking at all the options that we have, but, ultimately, these are decisions that are made by the federal government. And I have written to the president. I think the Congress needs to take a very serious look at this.

And, look, the public here is deeply concerned. And it's a legitimate concern, and you have to respond to public concern. And so at this point in time, this whole operation ought to be frozen.

CAVUTO: So, when you hear that -- I'm not a lawyer. Maybe you are.  But they say that, legally, you really wouldn't have that sort of jurisdiction, that the federal government could force this on you. If that were the case, what would you do?


Well, Neil, let's hope we -- it doesn't come to that. I mean, I can't -- if we don't have the ability to stop the federal government, we don't have the ability to stop them.

I think that if we can all take a deep breath -- and I'm in -- I'm looking at every option that I have to make sure that families in our state are going to be safe. That's what we're pursuing right now. I don't want to jump so far ahead that you have got a president saying, I'm doing it anyway, when you have a great number of governors saying, don't do that.

I don't want to get into a situation here where we're trying to kind of think about what is going to happen tomorrow.

We're doing what we can do today. And I think the Congress needs to involve itself significantly in all of this.

CAVUTO: Do you ever get the feeling, though, Governor, that if it is true that one of the assailants snuck in through Southern Greece from Syria, met up with like-minded terrorists in France, and might have stopped at a couple of other countries, and had similar meetings, do you get a feeling now it might be too late? That the bad guys are already certainly in Western Europe, to say nothing of the United States, as we speak?

KASICH: Well, Neil, the other thing is, is that this is not just one thing about refugees. It's about a comprehensive plan, as I have been talking about really since Friday night.

It involves intelligence. It involves human intelligence. It involves trying to break the codes that they have where they're communicating in a way that is becoming increasingly difficult for us to intercept.

And so it requires a number of things. I have called for a look at the resources that are being dedicated to the counterterrorism task forces, but there's no doubt in my mind that we have people with evil intent in this country. We just caught one in Akron, Ohio, who pledged his loyalty to ISIS and somehow posted the names of about 100 soldiers.

So counterintelligence is really, really important, and not just counterintelligence inside the United States, but worldwide emphasis on more significant counterintelligence. But, at the same time, Neil, let's face -- let's face it. We need to go and stop these people. We need to go and destroy ISIS and the coalition. And Article V would allow all of the NATO countries, along with soliciting help from some of our friends in the Middle East, for example, the Jordanians and the Saudis, would allow to us have an effective coalition to destroy them. And in the meantime, we should be having the no-fly zone.

And the president said today, well, who would guard the no-fly zones?  We have already suggested who could, the Jordanians, the Kurds. There's so much that can be done. And it's a shame that we're finding ourselves in a situation now where we have so many vacuums.

CAVUTO: Governor, thank you for taking the time. We do appreciate it.

KASICH: Thank you, Neil.

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