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Rep. King: Obama's order for U.S. to take in Syrian refugees 'will put American lives at risk'

Rep. Peter King speaks during a political fundraising

Rep. Peter King speaks during a political fundraising event in Great Neck on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015. Credit: Jeremy Bales

WASHINGTON - Long Island's Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) criticized President Barack Obama's order to admit at least 10,000 refugees fleeing Syria into the United States in the next year, saying it "will put American lives at risk."

King issued a statement Thursday saying he is most concerned that terrorists could slip into the United States with the refugees, and that the Obama administration does not have the ability to perform the necessary screening.

"We do not have the capability to vet these individuals nor will we be able to develop it in the next 12 months," King said. 

King spoke out as Republican presidential candidates wrestled with the question over whether to admit Syrian refugees -- Jeb Bush saying the United States should let them in; Ben Carson saying they should be vetted first; and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) seemed to duck.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton called for action to help the refugees and said the United States should do its part, but she hasn't specifically addressed Obama's order. Democratic hopeful Martin O'Malley a week ago said the United States should accept 65,000 Syrian refugees. It's not clear where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders stands on the issue.

On Fox News two days ago, Donald Trump said, "I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, you have to."

But King said, "It is vital that we measure our humanitarian beliefs against the security risks of bringing more than 10,000 unknown individuals into the homeland. I oppose this decision. We do not want another Boston Marathon bombing."

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