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Cuomo says refugee ban ‘is not who we are’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 January 2017 at 6:47 pm

Gov. Andrew Cuomo isn’t pleased with President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending the State Department’s Refugee Assistance Program and visa entry from Iraq, Syria and five other countries with Muslim population majorities – Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya.

Trump wants “extreme vetting” and suspended the refugee program for six of the countries for 120 days and indefinitely for Syria.

Cuomo issued this statement today at 5:53 p.m. after reports of refuges being detained at New York City airports.

“I never thought I’d see the day when refugees, who have fled war-torn countries in search of a better life, would be turned away at our doorstep,” Cuomo said. “We are a nation of bridges, not walls, and a great many of us still believe in the words ‘give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…’

“This is not who we are, and not who we should be.

“I have directed the Port Authority, the Department of State, and my Counsel’s Office to jointly explore all legal options to assist anyone detained at New York airports, and ensure that their rights are protected.

“America is a nation of laws and those laws provide rights that must be respected and followed regardless of political ideology.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) also issued this statement on immigration and refugees:

“I repeatedly urged the last administration to do more to confront the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and accept more refugee families. But President Trump’s actions on immigration and refugees fly in the face of our New York values and the foundation on which this country was built. Our diversity is what makes New York strong and our willingness to accept those in need who are fleeing some of the most dangerous and violent places on earth is what the Statue of Liberty represents. Our willingness to take in refugees is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps make our country safer from terrorist threats and shows millions around the globe that America cares for children and families facing strife and persecution. I will continue to stand with immigrant and refugee families and I will fight in the Senate to protect them.”

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Senate Democratic Leader, also issued this statement:

“Tears are running down the cheeks of the Statue of Liberty as a grand tradition of America, welcoming immigrants, that has existed since America was founded has been stomped upon. Taking in immigrants and refugees is not only humanitarian but has also boosted our economy and created jobs decade after decade. This is one of the most backward and nasty executive orders that the president has issued.”

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