BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Supporters of Syrian refugees held a peaceful rally Thursday just before packing the Erie County legislative session.
At the meeting, legislators would decide whether a public hearing should be held about the refugees coming to Buffalo. Supporters say the county should offer a helping hand to people coming from war-torn countries.
"These refugees, they don't have a choice. They go back home to where the terrorism is their life. Then if we don't accept them here, they have no place to go," says Sophia Kim, a Buffalo resident.
Refugee supporters also believe that the Department of Homeland Security takes every measure to screen refugees entering the United States.
"They screen refugees more heavily than anyone else coming in to this country. So yes, I feel confident that the Federal government will continue to manage security screenings for refugees in a way that keeps us safe," says Eva Hassett, executive director for the International Institute of Buffalo.
Still, Erie County Legislature Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo says a public hearing is needed to address the safety concerns residents of have about the Syrian refugees.
"Nowhere in any written statement, interview, TV appearance or resolution have I called for an outright ban and I won't call for an outright ban. I'm calling for a conversation, I want to clarify the process, and I want people to know what can be done to protect American soil."
It should also be noted that ultimately, the the federal government decides if refugees are allowed in the United States.