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Politics and Government

Cuomo: Not legally possible to ban Syrian refugees from New York

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking with David Gergen (right) at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership in Cambridge, MA. Tuesday";

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the leader of the Senate Republicans differ on whether New York State should accept Syrian refugees in light of the French terror attacks.
Cuomo says other governors who have said that they won’t let Syrian refugees into their states are part of a political “silly season," and he says legally, it’s not possible to ban the immigrants.

“How? Where does it say in the state constitution you can refuse a person placed by the federal government?“ Cuomo said. “What are you going to do, have your militia fight the federal government at the borders of your state? It’s a pure political statement.”

However, Cuomo qualified his statements, made to David Gergen at a forum at Harvard, saying that the federal government needs to make sure it’s adequately screening the refugees, and he says that question has not been fully answered.

“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,” Cuomo told Gergen before a group of students. “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.”

Meanwhile, the leader of the Senate Republicans, John Flanagan, says while the Syrian refugee crisis is a “tragedy,” their immigration should be “suspended until there is an effective vetting process in place.”