Despite the attacks in Paris possibly perpetrated by at least one Syrian refugee, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that New York City will not turn away any refugees fleeing Syria.
Ignoring doubts that the federal government can sufficiently vet the flow of refugees from Syria, de Blasio called New York “a proud immigrant city.” Many public officials and U.S. presidential candidates have expressed wariness at admitting refugees in the wake of the terror attacks last week.
De Blasio chided a pair of local Republicans running for president. He called New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “an embarrassment to this country” and said that the city “will adhere to the words of our Founding Fathers, not Donald Trump.”
De Blasio also defended the city’s Muslim community as an integral part of New York.
Meanwhile, a Republican member of New York’s Congressional delegation and a Republican state assemblyman are urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to prevent Syrian refugees from being placed in the state.
Rep. Chris Collins and Assemblyman Christopher Friend cited the threat of terrorism Monday when they called on Cuomo to reject additional refugees from the war-torn Middle Eastern nation.
But Cuomo rejected their plea, saying that it would be akin to letting terrorists win by “conceding defeat of the American dream.”
The Democratic governor told students at Harvard University Tuesday that efforts to prevent terrorism must be balanced with America’s status as a beacon for liberty and tolerance.
Several governors around the country are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states, though some immigration advocates say, under the Refugee Act of 1980, governors cannot legally block refugees from settling in their communities.
However, in neighboring New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday in a letter to President Barack Obama that he will no longer accept Syrian refugees.
“I cannot allow New Jersey to participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees — any one of whom could be connected to terrorism — being placed in our state,” he wrote.
Effective Tuesday, Christie said, he would direct the New Jersey Department of Human Services not to participate in resettlement activities.
He also requested that nongovernmental organizations assisting with resettlements notify state authorities if they resettle anyone from the country.
New Jersey has accepted 75 Syrian refugees so far this year while New York took in 48 people.