Mayor urges governor to welcome Syrian refugees to New Mexico

Javier Gonzales

In a stand met with both praise and criticism, Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales is calling on Gov. Susana Martinez to welcome Syrian refugees to New Mexico.

“The people fleeing Syria now are in some of the darkest days of their lives, running from the very terrorism we seek to fight,” Gonzales wrote in a Facebook post Monday. “Basic American values call on us not to bar the way or abandon them to their fate.”

Martinez joined several other Republican governors Monday in opposing President Barack Obama’s plan to accept any more Syrian refugees until a more vigorous screening process was in place.

“The governor strongly opposes the Obama administration’s plan to accept more Syrian refugees until there is a very clear plan in place to properly vet and place the refugees, and the voices of governors and the public can be heard,” Martinez’s spokesman, Michael Lonergan, said in a statement.

The nation’s governors have little say on the matter because the president has the power to accept refugees under the Refugee Act of 1980. But Gonzales, a Democrat, used his position to bring attention to the issue and outline his differences with Martinez, a Republican.

“It has been heartbreaking to watch governor after governor refuse to come to the aid of a world in crisis,” Gonzales wrote on the Facebook post. “Considering our history and our culture, I expected and hoped for better from our own leaders, but have been disappointed to see nothing but fear, xenophobia and isolation in response to the inhuman acts of terror perpetrated in Paris.”

The mayor’s comments generated mixed opinions.

“It is indeed disheartening to see those who love to talk about Christian values shrink from those values when it is time to live them,” Sherman Peterson wrote on the mayor’s Facebook thread.

A few others expressed concerns about their safety.

“I stand with Governor Martinez. #KeepNewMexicoSafe,” Victor Montoya wrote.



Gonzales' Facebook post

"Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"- Emma Lazarus, The New...

Posted by Mayor Javier Gonzales on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

In September, Gonzales joined 17 other mayors — all part of the Cities United for Immigration Action coalition — in writing a letter commending Obama for his decision to “open America’s doors to at least 10,000 Syrian refugees displaced by civil war.” The mayors urged the president to increase the number.

“The United States is in a position to lead a global narrative of inclusion and support,” their letter stated.

“I stand by that,” Gonzales wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s two Democratic U.S. senators issued separate statements on the issue.

Sen. Martin Heinrich said, “Syrian refugees must be subject to the highest levels of vetting and scrutiny.”

“However,” Heinrich added, “the implicit assumption that Syrian refugees — many of whom have suffered terribly at the hands of ISIS — are a threat because of their country of origin is a rejection of American values and represents giving in to our worst ethnic and religious prejudices.”

Sen. Tom Udall urged the president, Congress and the nation’s governors “to follow a balanced, fact-based approach to the issues regarding refugees fleeing terrorism and violence in Syria.”

Contact Daniel J. Chacón at 986-3089 or dchacon@sfnewmexican.com. Follow him on Twitter @danieljchacon.

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(37) comments

John Puerner

Before the Mayor wades into an issue where he has no authority, maybe he should focus on Santa Fe's budget and deteriorating financial situation

David Diaz

Not saying Santa Fe shouldn't get it together before expanding social aid programs to accommodate others, but here are a few things that might be worth noting:

- Population of the U.S.: 318.9 million; the proposed 10k refugees would constitute a 0.00003136% increase in our total population. This cannot be seen as a takeover. Also, is this drop in the bucket so large it would really overwhelm the social aid programs some of us are worried these people will be using? The U.S. already allows for 85k refugees a year.

- According to the American Immigration Council refugee men have a higher employment rate than native born American men (67% and 60% respectively)--the idea that these people will necessarily become part of the welfare state is unfounded. Refugee women are employed at the same rate as native born women.

- The 10k refugees will not all be coming to Santa Fe, or New Mexico for that matter. New Mexico would likely see an influx numbering in the hundreds.

- You are about 650 times more likely to be killed in a gun related homicide in the U.S. than to be killed by a terrorist.

Caroline Montoya

Before you open the door Mayor Take care of what's going on right here right now!!! Our Education system sucks!!! Nothing for our kids to do unless mommy and daddy have money SAD!!! Our Veterans are sick homeless and hurting and need our support!! YOU KNOW THAT WE WOULD NOT HAVE THESE FREEDOMS IF IT WASNT FOR OUR VETS, SO WE NEED TO DO WAY MORE FOR THEM BEFORE REFUGEES.
New Mexico PEOPLE COME FIRST!!!!!!!!! How can we help Refugees if we can't even help our own. WE HAVE NO JOBS HERE AS IT IS AND YOU WANT TO BRING MORE PEOPLE HERE WHY? OUR WELFARE IS RUNNING OUT FOR LOCALS BUT THERES PLENTY FOR IMMIGRANTS? I AM NOT AGAINIST HELP THE REFUGEES, BUT MAYOR PLEASE THINK BEFORE YOU ACT THIS TIME. ITS HARD TO SIT WHERE YOU ARE AND MAKE JUDGEMENTS!

Nickolas Jones

Does anyone think about all of the negative possibilities of accepting refugees, especially from a country that has been constantly having wars for thousands of years? For instance, what if some of the Syrian refugees are in disguise as ISIS and try to take over the United States? Or what if "they" are the Trojan Horse? So, in short, I would say that accepting Syrian refugees is a bad decision. I'm Native American and I stand with my opinions of opposing Syrian refugees into New Mexico. [angry]

Not opposed to safe harbors for those fleeing war and environmental catastrophe.

The question I do have however is;

With a 6.8% unemployment rate and 97% rental occupancy in Santa Fe, where are these people going to live and work?

We need t create jobs and build housing and recover prosperity for our existing community which is already in acute need.

Perhaps Midland, Texas or Casper, Wyoming might also be nice suitable places to relocate fleeing refugees?

S Gonzales

Five Syrians were recently held in Honduras by authorities as they were found with stolen, doctored Greek passports while making their way up to the United States. I really don't want them in or anywhere near my home. Mayor, do you want them in yours?

John Onstad

S. Gonzales:

Of course he doesn't want them in his neighborhood--he wants them in yours!

Cheers.

John

Pam Walker

What about the fact that we don't want them? What about the fact that we will pay for them? Where will they be housed. We already do not have enough low income housing for the people we have. Santa Fe has plenty of folks on the streets that need help first.

Carolyn DM

Mr. lame A mayor man, instead of doing things to put yourself in the spotlight, first do something about the homeless in this town. Give them city jobs like Albq mayor has. They'd probably work harder and appreciate It more than all he employees on the Friends an Family Plan this city has now.

Carolyn DM

Deport the mayor.

Jerry Wise

In today's news "All of the attackers from Friday’s massacre in Paris so far have been identified as European Union nationals, according to a top EU official. The announcement further casts doubt on the validity of a Syrian passport found near the bodies of a slain attacker." So no Syrians but hey when the Saudi's destroyed the WTC the Republicans attacked Iraq so there's precedent for Republicans fussing or no reason about Syrian immigrants. Thank God we have a rational President or we would be invading some random oil producing country.

Michael Grimler

Mr. Wise,

You're in luck.

I hear WalMart is having a sale on extra heavy duty tin foil.

John Onstad

Heinrich, Udall, Gonzales, Lujan and Obama are all devious leftists cut out of the same cloth. Their agenda is to import foreign nationals, put them on the welfare roles and encourage them to vote Democrat. That's pretty obvious.

New Mexico has been deluged by illegal immigrants from south of the Rio Grande for 20+ years, who've caused enormous social, budgetary and criminal problems. That's also pretty obvious.

At least these immigrants are nominally Roman Catholic and generally share our values.

However, bringing in Moslems from the Middle East with values diametrically opposed to ours is sheer insanity!!!!!! Not to mention a grave threat to our national security.

Like it's been stated above, Javier should concentrate on collecting parking fines and balancing city finances and leave immigration policy to the adults in the room.

Cheers.

John

Gerald Joyce

[thumbup]

Andrew Lucero

I wish the New Mexican would conduct a poll on our Mayor's job performance and each of the city councilors instead of this nonsense... Syrian refugees don't have a damn thing to do with the blatant corruption, gross mismanagement and colossal financial problems that are facing our city....

We have to get our own house in order before we can worry about anyone else's

Peter Hebard

President Obama just said that the governors' very public refusals to accept any Syrian refugees will be used as a recruiting tool for ISIS. I agree. Kudos to the mayor!

Dr. Michael Johnson

And the Mayor's (and Obama's) very public acceptance of any and all Syrians over our open borders will be an even better recruitment tool for iSIS to kill Americans.

Eden Maxwell

Shut down immigration. Period. Reopen when we are ready. I do not intend on following the suicidal idiocy of the left.

Peter Hebard

Shut down immigration? Huh? 20 million people from foreign countries visit the U.S. every year. Are we to become hermetic and bar all such visits too?

James Wilson

Tourists and foreign students are not immigrants. Huh.

Andrew Rodney

As the old saying goes, "If we live in fear, the terrorists win". Yet unfounded fear is a great political tool. The Gov can use it here or to scare us about refugees or with her rhetoric about drivers licenses. If you want something rational to fear, get in your car and drive NM's highways, your chance of being killed is hugely greater than from terrorists or 'illegal' aliens. To fear inclusion of refugees who have seen the worst of what Isis can inflict, because a terrorist may slip through, is not rational and goes against what the US stands for. Keep in mind too, the vast majority of Isis's victims are none other than Muslims.

James Wilson

Even given years to do it, how does one "vet" people from a country with no information infrastructure, where a bit of cash will get you any "official" document or credential you like? It can't be done. Unless a person's fingerprints are known to Interpol etc., every Syrian or African's past is opaque, and therefore can be perverted into "clean" as desired. You could look for people to "vouch" for someone. But isn't that how random people wound up in Guantanemo for the last decade? Completely unreliable.

This administration has mastered the bait-and-switch. Illegals were to be refused Obamacare (and other welfare payments). So the administration simply forbade employees to ask about citizenship, and directed them to find some way to stamp everyone "approved". Government managers routinely use verbal directives which can always be denied or explained later as misunderstandings.

We simply don't need any more immigrants. We don't have jobs for the folks already here. And welfare is heaping trillions onto the national debt. We can't save the whole world, despite the wonderful Coke commercials of the 70's.

DeeDee Downs

Martinez needs to be reminded of two things:
1.) The most common phrase in the Christian Bible is:
"Fear not"
and
2.) "Inscription on the Statue of Liberty"

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Author: Emma Lazarus

Dr. Michael Johnson

Yes, how "inspiring", but none of that is in our Constitution or our laws, and is not nor ever has been in government policies, just words by individuals about their opinion, and no I do not believe the Bible was written by God.

Steve Salazar

How many of the huddled masses were those that wanted to bring carnage to this country, while at the same time, hurting, again, those who they tried to kill once before?

leanne gonzalez

Javier, as the saying goes "have to stand for something or you fall for everything." That seems to be the case thus far. Santa Fe is not what it was in the good old days........................ so why not let everyone in and make Santa Fe more unsafe than it already is. [sleeping]

Dr. Michael Johnson

I understand the Mayor is just playing politics here, opposing anything Susie wants and following the left wing DNC talking points in the political briefings outlined for him. But does he think these people are just like the millions of illegal aliens we have from Mexico and Central America already? If so, just look how lackadaisical and uninterested the Feds are in them and whatever they do, sanctuary cities like Santa Fe and ABQ look the other way.

Now you think that these Muslims will be "thoroughly vetted", as Marty says? No way, they will be treated the same as what we have, let loose and ignored, only they are much more dangerous, and I am wondering if the Mayor and all these other left wing bleeding hearts will say or do anything after a few of them take out hundreds or thousands of Americans in our own cities? People like this will just shrug and say, well that is the price we pay for freedom, and never admit the blood is on their hands, and it will happen, sooner or later if you let more like this flood into our country.

Pierce Knolls

As usual, Mayor Javier is grandstanding on an issue outside of his purview, meanwhile, a municipal budget crisis is looming, and nothing is being done about it.

joe valdez

Mayor Javier Gonzales this is so wrong maybe you need to focus in correcting issue in the city and fix problems we are having. I do not support you in welcoming Syrian refugees to New Mexico and I stand with all Republican governors not wanting them here. Governor Martinez I support as well not joining Mr. Gonzales this is wrong. How can you trust this people and why help these refugees when we cannot even help our own. Are we going to give them free housing, health insurance and stamps and have us the tax payer pick up the tab. If you politician want them here take them to your house. This should be a vote for the people to decide not the politician. What kind of vigorous screening process has been done and has anyone from the city or New Mexico been involved in the process? And the President Obama is to accept more Syrian refugees he is the problem here why does he want them here I would like to know that.

joe valdez

Mayor Javier Gonzales this is so wrong maybe you need to focus in correcting issue in the city and fix problems we are having. I do not support you in welcoming Syrian refugees to New Mexico and I stand with all Republican governors not wanting them here. Governor Martinez I support as well not joining Mr. Gonzales this is wrong. How can you trust this people and why help these refugees when we cannot even help our own. Are we going to give them free housing, health insurance and stamps and have us the tax payer pick up the tab. If you politician want them here take them to your house. This should be a vote for the people to decide not the politician. What kind of vigorous screening process has been done and has anyone from the city or New Mexico been involved in the process? And the President Obama is to accept more Syrian refugees he is the problem here why does he want them here I would like to know that.

Steve Salazar

Sure, we have compassion for the women and children who ran for their lives just ahead of the Islamic terrorists.

Bringing them into this country, along with those Islamic terrorists is just stupid, just ask the French.

Michael Grimler

Bingo, the French are paying in spades for their compassion and largesse.

I don't have the right answers but I know the wrong answer - don't bring them here.

Steve Salazar

Saudi Arabia could take them in, except that they fear bringing in terrorists, we need to follow their lead, or just bring in the children. Look, women are blowing themselves up in France, can we trust them?

Arlene D.Kock

These folks don't even have an effective strategy to collect parking fines. Why in gods name should we assume they could ferret out national terrorist threats.

Gerald Joyce

It is naive at best and irresponsible at worst to call for settling Syrian refugees into America, let alone New Mexico, at this time. I also believe that you are towing a party line without regard to the consequences of your fellow citizens.

Unless and until there is a comprehensive vetting policy for all refugees, it is lunacy to allow them to resettle here. Notice,how many able bodied young men appear to populate the refugee crowds. Shouldn't they want to stay and fight for their homeland? Or will they become the martyrs of the radical cause on our shores?

A better way to handle the crisis is to resettle the refugees in a safe place in Syria or with their Arabian neighbors until the fighting is resolved. Then they can resettle their homeland.

James Wilson

"Basic American values" call on you to balance your city's budget and quit dissimilating and stealing money from random agencies to pay for employees you can't afford, bro.

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