Critics: Christie an ‘Embarrassment’ and Xenophone Over Refugee Comments
Two prominent Democrats blasted Gov. Chris Christie's comments about Syrian refugees — saying the U.S. shouldn't even accept young children, and that New Jersey won't accept refugees the federal government tries to settle here — saying the governor is a xenophobe and an "embarrassment" to the country.
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto in a statement recalled that he came to the United States from Cuba when he was 10 years old, and remembered the warm welcome he and his family received upon their arrival.
“We absolutely must have a thorough screening and vetting process for all refugees, but we also must be better than the governor's xenophobia," Prieto said. "We especially shouldn't be targeting orphaned preschoolers, toddlers and babies, lest we see more drowned bodies washing ashore."
The governor, a guest on the syndicated Hugh Hewitt show, said he did not believe that the Obama administration could effectively vet Syrian refugees: "We need to put the safety and security of the American people first," said Christie. He said he didn't want to allow young orphans because of uncertainty about who would take care of them once in the United States.
"No matter our political beliefs, no matter our principles, it's imperative we never forget the idea that whatever we do for the least among us, we do for ourselves," wrote Prieto. “Gov. Christie has forgotten this most American of ideals."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said closing the borders to refugees would be a victory for terrorism and said his city will accept refugees.
"Because Chris Christie is an elected official, his comment is an embarrassment to this country. If he were in any other profession, it would be dismissed out of hand for the callous, heartless and prejudiced statement that it is," deBlasio said in a statement.
Christie on Friday wrote a letter to President Obama informing his that New Jersey will not accept Syrian refugees because his first priority is to keep the state safe and “the threat posed to New Jersey by ISIS is very real.”