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Politics & Government

Fear or freedom: Grand Rapids mayor makes case for welcoming Syrian refugees

mayorgeorgeheartwell_grcitydotus.jpg

"For us to turn our backs on people now, I think is just to abdicate what it means to be an American."

That's what  Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell tells Stateside host Cynthia Canty.

The Mayor of Michigan's second-largest city recently addressed the Grand Rapids City Commission after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

"We are freedom-loving people and we live in a land where freedom from oppression is our norm. President Franklin Roosevelt said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.' The context then was a global war. The context now is global terror. We must not cheaply exchange our freedoms for security, for such security will be fleeting and unsatisfying." 

Stateside host Cynthia Canty asks Heartwell how he arrived at his decision that welcoming Syrian refugees is better for Michigan and the nation than turning them away.