New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says rejecting Syrian refugees would be akin to letting terrorists win by "conceding defeat of the American dream."
Responding to those urging him to block the placement of Syrian refugees, the Democratic governor told students at Harvard University Tuesday that efforts to prevent terrorism must be balanced with America's status as a beacon for liberty and tolerance.
“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,” said Cuomo.
The governor added that Washington has vowed to screen potential terrorists and noted that state leaders cannot legally block refugees anyway.
Several governors have said they won't allow Syrian refugees into their states following the coordinated attacks in Paris.
On Monday, a Republican congressman from New York and a GOP state legislator called on Cuomo to reject Syrian refugees.
Forty-eight Syrian refugees have settled in New York so far this year.
With the Associated Press