Chris Christie Says He Wouldn't Even Take ‘Orphans Under 5' From Syria

Gov. Christie said Tuesday that he is opposed to allowing Syrian refugees to enter the country -- even if they're orphaned infants.

Speaking on a radio show hosted by conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt, Christie said he doesn't trust the Obama administration to adequately vet refugees coming to the Garden State or other parts of the country.

When asked if he would make exceptions for orphans under 5 years old, he said no.

"The fact is that we need appropriate vetting," he continued, "and I don't think orphans under five are being, you know, should be admitted into the United States at this point. But you know, they have no family here. How are we going to care for these folks?"

On Tuesday, Christie said in a letter to President Obama that New Jersey would not accept any refugees from the country. 

"I cannot allow New Jersey  to participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees -- an one of whom could be connected to terrorism -- being placed in our State," Christie said in the letter.

Community leaders in New Jersey immediately pushed back.

"This type of language is really perpetuating a discourse of hate, a discourse of fear," said Sami Catovic of New Brunswick Islamic Center. 

Seth Kaper-Dale of the Reformed Church of Highland Park said, "The people in the state of New Jersey can smell a skunk, and this connection is just so absurd." 

Millions of Syrians have fled their civil war-torn country in search of a better life. Amira and Mohamad Darbi ended up in Jersey City, and are already taking English classes. Jen Maxfield reports.

Kaper-Dale is taking a leading role in support of refugees; just on Sunday, his church sponsored a march to raise money to bring more of them to New Jersey. 

"We're not going to stop," he said. "Are you kidding me?" 

Earlier this year, Christie said U.S. should "play their role" in taking in refugees without committing to a specific number after a photograph of a dead migrant child humanized the migrant influx. The New York Times reported last month that several refugees had found homes in Jersey City.

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Christie and 24 other state governors have also said they don't want Syrian refugees coming to their states. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said their respective states would continue to take refugees.

Also Tuesday in New Jersey, 17 Muslim leaders from across the state gathered to condemn the Paris attacks and the terrorists behind them. 

"They call themselves the Islamic State but that is not the state that is in their heart," said Imam Wahy-uh Deen Shareef of the Council of Imams New Jersey. "The state that is in their heart is evil." 

The leaders said that Paris and its aftermath will be addressed from the pulpits on Friday prayers. 

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