NEW YORK – Cities United For Immigration Action (CUIA), a coalition of nearly 100 mayors, municipalities and counties, issued the following statement today in response to Governors expressing their unwillingness to accept refugees in their states:
"Our hearts go out to the people of Paris and those impacted by these senseless acts of violence. The American values of freedom and opportunity define who we are as a country, and to extend that promise to Syrian families seeking refuge from the threat of terror is imperative. As municipal leaders, we seek always to protect our communities, while we honor the diversity and growth of our cities and counties. The United States has a robust screening and background check system that ensures our safety and security is protected, as we welcome those in need of refuge onto our shores.”
Other mayors expressed support individually for allowing refugees to be settled in the United States with appropriate and intensive screening in place.
“As a city and as a country it is not our custom to turn our backs on people who are in need and who are innocent. We have yet to receive guidelines from the federal or state government on how they will move forward, however should we be told that Boston is accepting refugees, we will work with our partners at the federal, state and local levels to ensure the safety of Boston residents,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.
“We should not close our borders to any group of people fleeing the atrocities and horrors of terrorism. 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. We are a strong country. We can protect our country with the appropriate and intensive screening and accept refugees seeking our protection at the same time. New York City is a proud immigrant city, and we will not turn our back on that history or the people being persecuted and fleeing war,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We are heartbroken by the tragic events in Paris and stand with those affected by these acts of terrorism. In light of the Paris attacks, it is imperative that the Department of Homeland Security provide security guarantees to hosting communities, such as Dayton, regarding each individual seeking protection regardless of their home country. The City of Dayton does not have a role in the resettlement process of refugees. Should the decision be made to place refugees from any country in the City of Dayton, we will continue to be a leader in the welcoming movement and will champion inclusive communities that enable all residents to thrive,” said Dayton Nan Mayor Whaley.
“I support accepting Syrian refugees into the city of Columbus, state of Ohio, and the United States, provided they are rigorously screened by the federal authorities. The horrific, senseless violence in Paris should cause us to be more resilient against terrorism, but it should not cause us to shut down our borders to those in need of a safe harbor,” said Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman.
Other mayors who expressed support for allowing refugees into the U.S. with security screenings, include: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, and Haledon, NJ Mayor Dom Stampone.
In recent months, mayors have joined forces with nearly 100 cities and counties as part of Cities United for Immigration Action, a coalition that is leading the effort to promote and execute the President’s immigration actions nationwide.