Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker does not want to allow any Syrian refugees into the state at this time, following last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh seems unsure of where he stands on the issue.
“I would say no as of right now,” Baker told reporters at the State House Monday, according to the Boston Globe. “No, I’m not interested in accepting refugees from Syria. My view on this is the safety and security of the people of the Commonwealth of Mass. is my highest priority. So I would set the bar very high on this.”
Baker said he is seeking more guidance from federal officials. “I think at this point in time we’d have to be very cautious about accepting folks without knowing a lot more about what the federal government’s plan looks like and how it’s going to be actually implemented and executed,” he said.
According to Boston Magazine, Baker and Walsh were approached by reporters outside the Gardner Auditorium in the State House, and Walsh agreed with Baker, “I stand with the governor as well on this. I think, you know, there hasn’t been conversation yet because of the events that happened in Paris and I think this has kind of come to the forefront now of the conversation. I said this yesterday when I spoke at the police headquarters is that we would have to see the vetting process and what is happening with the vetting process. And also, I think, it’s a little early for this conversation. I think there will be opportunity for the governor on the state level and the city to weigh in on this, but I think right now, ultimately, it’s a federal government decision. We don’t have a say in the matter today.”
Walsh later released the following statement:
“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.”
Update: According to ThinkProgress, state governors cannot refuse to accept Syrian refugees.
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