Hawley wants NY borders closed to Syrian refugees

Staff Reports Posted 17 November 2015 at 12:00 am

Cuomo says federal government needs to ensure proper screening and that migrants aren’t a threat

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, wants New York to close its border to Syrian refugees until potential threats can be screened and the remaining attackers in the French bombing apprehended.

“This is a matter of New York State security,” Hawley said in a statement this afternoon. “I am concerned that Syrian refugees sympathetic to the terrorist attacks could already be living among us, and we have a duty to protect our citizens from future threats. New York’s highly populated cities are easy targets for terrorists who are now more frequently attacking innocent civilians. The groundswell of support for this measure is growing by the hour, and 25 governors, including several moderate presidential candidates, already have pledged to close their borders until security is increased.”

Hawley expressed the urgency of this matter as authorities are investigating a Syrian Passport found near one of the French bombing sites after the weekend’s terrorist attacks.

“I am officially calling on Gov. Cuomo to close our borders to Syrian refugees until we can properly ascertain threats inside our state and the remaining attackers have been apprehended,” Hawley said.

Governor Cuomo discussed the Syrian refugee crisis during a question and answer session with students at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Cuomo’s office released the governor’s response to a question about NY accepting migrants.

“I think it’s a balance,” Cuomo said. “I think many forces are now trying to politicize this. This is an election season, so the silly season has started and the Governors can say ‘I will refuse to let the refugees in.’ How? How? Where does it say in the state constitution you can refuse a person placed by the federal government? What are you going to have your militia fight the federal government at the borders of your state? It’s a pure political statement. It’s up to the federal government. If the federal government lets refugees in and places them in your state, the Governor has no authority to turn them down.

“Having said that, the question is a bona fide question. We have to protect Americans and not lose our soul as America in the process. Right? The day America says, ‘Close the gates, build the wall,’ then I say take down the Statue of Liberty because you’ve gone to a different place. And read Emma Lazarus and the poem on the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.’ Once you say we’re out of business, that’s no longer true. So, I won’t let them win by conceding defeat of the American Dream.

“At the same time, this federal government needs to make sure it’s doing the screening and the people that are coming in are safe and the federal government has to say ‘we are capable of doing that.’ And if the federal government is not capable of doing that, David, then they should say that too. If you really can’t screen, then the answer is ‘We can’t screen’ but their position is ‘We can screen. We can screen effectively’ and if that’s the case, do the screening, make sure it’s right, do it exhaustively, but don’t give up your soul as America.”