Democratic Candidates Debate the Refugee Crisis

Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley discuss the most important issues at the ABC News Democratic presidential debate.
3:39 | 12/20/15

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Transcript for Democratic Candidates Debate the Refugee Crisis
It's turned out refugees coming. America and pump the subject of refugees more than half of all Americans now say they oppose taking in refugees from Syria and across the Middle East. Secretary Clinton you have said that it would undermine who we are as Americans shutting our doors. But New Hampshire's governor where we are right here tonight a Democrat and a supporter of yours is among more than thirty governors who are now concerned. Governor making house and says we should halt acceptance of Syrian refugees until US authorities can assure the vetting process halt Syrian refugees a pause. Is she wrong well. I agree that we have to have the toughest. Screening and vetting that but a home and have. I don't think gay halt is necessary what we have to do is. Put all of our resources through the Department of Homeland Security through the State Department to our intelligence agencies. And we have to have an increased bedding and screening now this takes David. Eighteen months to 24 years to 24 months to years so I know it's not gonna happen overnight. And everything that can be done should be done but the process should move forward. While we are also taking on prices putting together the kind of strategy that I've advocated for. And making sure that the vetting in the screening is as tough as possible because I do believe that. We have a history and a tradition. Odd that is part of our value system and we don't want to sacrifice our values we don't want to. You know make it seem as though we are turning into a nation of fear instead of a nation of resolve. So I want us to have a very tough screening process but I want that process to go forward. And it's at the end of eighteen months 24 months there are people who have been cleared and I would prioritize. Widows and orphans and the elderly people who may have relatives families or who have nowhere else to go I would prioritize them. And that would I think gives the American public a bit more of a sense of security about who is being processed and who might end up coming. As refugee governor a mailing obviously you're governor yourself at one time what would you say to New Hampshire governor tonight and strong honest. That's what now what I would say is this that the gutless the first of the three of us to call for America to accept the 65000. Refugees. We were asked to accept and if this humanitarian crisis increases we should accept more so the idea of a halter a pause. There there are wider vulnerabilities than when it comes to refugees I met recently with some. Members of the cal day in Christian community. And the wait time certain. A year eighteen months money for months there is a pretty excruciating process that refugees go through we need to invest more in terms of the other sort of visas and the other sort of waivers but these cabinet and savage told me. Was it their families in Syria when crisis moves into their town. They actually pink. A Red Cross across the door and mark their homes. Four. Demolition. And that tells the family you better get out now the sorted genocide and brutality that the victims are suffering. These are not the perpetrators we need to be the nation whose enduring symbol it's a statue of liberty and we need to act like the great country we are according to our values thank you are David. We're could have been bond. We're gonna lower body I have a chance to respond to this issue where we're gonna move on to the fight against dice this you're the one who told us we have to follow this world than breaking off. Yup what the rule includes. People. Go to a cart. Well let's keep going thank you don't.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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