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New Jersey Activists Working To Provide Help For Syrian Refugees Fleeing War

PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Thousands of migrants seeking asylum are starting to arrive in Germany and Austria, as they leave violence and unrest in their homeland they hope to find peace in Western Europe and in the U.S.

Migrants fleeing civil war in Syria finally reached destinations in Western Europe, after Austria and Germany agreed to take them in.

For days, Hungary stopped migrants from leaving by train and asylum seekers were stuck at the Budapest station.

Fed up migrants gathered the few belongings they had and did the one thing that got them this far -- they walked.

Then the Hungarian government made good on its promise to provide them buses to Austria.

The United Nations refugee agency praised Austria and Germany for "exceptional  humanitarian values" by agreeing to take in thousands of the migrants.

At a rally in Paterson, New Jersey on Saturday night, demonstrators demanded more help for the migrants as they held a vigil to remember Syrian refugees who have died fleeing the war.

As WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported, for Syrians around the world, including a large population in Paterson, the haunting image of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi's drowning death is the stuff nightmares are made of.

New Jersey Activists Working To Provide Help For Syrian Refugees Fleeing War

"This could be my own baby. This could be your nephew. This could be your niece. This tragedy is becoming unbearable," said Hamid Imam.

Imam is a Syrian activist in Paterson who is calling on the United States to accept more refugees and do more to stop the war.

"I believe that the Obama Administration foreign policy has been a total failure," he said.

Imam said the local community in New Jersey is also collecting household items to help refugees settling in places like Paterson, Jersey City and Elizabeth.

As other nations, including the U.S., prepare to take migrants in as well, Congressman Peter King of New York said it must be done very carefully.

"We have to do what we can to find refuge for these immigrants, however the first priority must be security," King said. "I have a real concern that within this group of refugees there are Islamic terrorists."

"We have to find a way to get some in, but people who are talking about 60,000 -- totally wrong, it would be too dangerous for the U.S.," King added.

The congressman said refugees must be background checked before they are allowed in and he thinks the U.S. could get the government of Jordan to help with the vetting process.

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