Mayor Bill de Blasio stayed mum on questions about how the city should respond to increasing political pressure to close off the United States’ borders to Syran refugees following Friday’s terrorist attacks in France.
De Blasio declined to answer a question about whether his support for accepting 10,000 refugees at an early, unrelated press event in Queens, offering to answer the question during a press event with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“I would like to speak to that when we are with Commissioner Bratton later, because we can give you a much fuller answer,” the mayor said.
Hours later at an event marking the first deployment of a new, beefed-up counterterrorism unit, a reporter asked about refugee resettlement. De Blasio avoided the microphone and instead allowed his police commissioner to field the question.
The top cop said the issues was more of a concern in Europe, and that American federal authorities would vet any refugees coming into the United States from Syria on a series of qualifications.
De Blasio nodded his head as Bratton spoke.
“Based on what just happened, those qualification levels will certainly be looked at very closely to ensure the safety of the American public,” Bratton said immediately before officials ended the press conference.
On Sunday, a spokeswoman for de Blasio declined to comment to Metro on the mayor’s previously stated support for the federal government to bring in 10,000 refugees from war-torn Syria.
De Blasio was one of 18 local leaders from around the country who signed a letter to President Barack Obama asking the administration to take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrian refugees.
Days before the attack in France, de Blasio affirmed New York City “has to be a part of” the international response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Authorities in France confirmed on Monday that a Syrian passport found near one of the suspects in the Paris attack revealed he came into Europe through Greece.
News of the verified passport fueled concerns by conservative lawmakers around the country about possible Islamic State members posing as refugees and seeking asylum in the United States.
New York state Republicans began to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to join at least 19 other governors to reject Syrian refugees. The governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.