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Gov. Baker: Massachusetts Open To Refugee Shelter Discussion

BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker said he's willing to talk with federal officials about the possibility that Massachusetts could shelter some Syrian refugees to help ease Europe's humanitarian crisis.

Baker told reporters Thursday that as far as he knows, federal officials haven't yet begun reaching out to states, but he would be open to a conversation if the government went in that direction.

The Republican governor said he'd want to know more details, including who would pay the costs and what the plan would be for housing and caring for them.

Baker said that while he didn't think that foreign policy decisions should be made out of the Massachusetts governor's office, he felt the nation has a role in lending a hand to help those fleeing years of civil strife.

"The United States is part of the global community. This is clearly a global crisis, and we should do as a nation what I would sort of call our fair share," Baker said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has also said he would be willing to talk with federal officials about accepting refugees.

The White House said Thursday that the country is making plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming budget year that begins Oct. 1. That's a significant jump from the 1,500 migrants already cleared to resettle in the U.S. since civil war broke out in the Middle Eastern country more than four years ago.

The Obama administration has been under pressure to do more than just provide money to help meet the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

It's not the first time Massachusetts has offered to step in to help.

Last year former Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick offered either Camp Edwards military base on Cape Cod or Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee as possible locations to house up to 1,000 unaccompanied children crossing the nation's southern border.

The offer met with stiff opposition from some local officials. It was ultimately dropped after Obama administration officials said that due to an easing of the number of children apprehended at the border, temporary shelters were no longer needed.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material

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