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De Blasio Supports Admitting Syrian Refugees

By Jeff Mays | November 17, 2015 6:33pm
 Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton unveiled an
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton unveiled an "elite" NYPD counterterrorism unit following the attacks on Paris.
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DNAinfo/Jeff Mays

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio wants the United States to welcome Syrian refugees, but he hasn't said how many the city would be willing to accept or where they could live.

The mayor Tuesday blasted Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Gov. Chris Christie, who have said that welcoming the refugees would undermine U.S. security in the wake of the Paris terror attacks that killed 129 people and injured hundreds more.

But when asked whether the city would open its arms to the some of the 10,000 refugees President Barack Obama said the U.S. would take in, a de Blasio spokeswoman deferred to federal authorities.

"Though cities and states don't determine the number of refugees and their relocation, Mayor de Blasio and mayors across the country are doing what it is in our power to do: advocating for our cities and the US to be open and welcoming to more refugees fleeing violence and terror," said spokeswoman Rosemary Boeglin.

Because the United States has strong screening processes, de Blasio is working with other mayors "to make sure our cities’ policies are inclusive and supportive of immigrants," Boeglin added.

On Tuesday, de Blasio released a series of statements on the Syrian refugee crisis.

"We should not close our borders to any group of people fleeing the atrocities and horrors of terrorism," he said. "To do so is to hand terrorists a victory over our democracy, strengthened over the years by Americans who died or risked their lives for it."

De Blasio also criticized Trump, who wondered Monday if Syrian refugees who want to come to America were part of a "Trojan horse" plot against the country and suggested that some mosques be monitored and even closed.

"First and foremost, we always will abide by the U.S. Constitution which prohibits discrimination against religions. We will adhere to the words of our Founding Fathers, not Donald Trump," de Blasio said. "Mosques don't commit acts of terrorism. People do."

The mayor also called comments by Christie, who said the U.S. shouldn't even accept 5-year-old Syrian orphans "an embarrassment" to the country. More than half the governors in the country have called on the U.S. to stop accepting Syrian refugees, according to media reports.

"If he were in any other profession, it would be dismissed out of hand for the callous, heartless and prejudiced statement that it is," de Blasio said.

Meanwhile, several New Yorkers took to Twitter to call on the city, and the nation, to take in more refugees.

With reporting by Savannah Cox.