Following the deadly terrorist attack in Paris on Friday, numerous Republican presidential candidates called for U.S. officials to restrict the country’s acceptance of Syrian refugees.
In a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said that the U.S. should no longer take in any refugees from Syria because background checks are not thorough enough.
“The problem is not the background checks. The problem is we can’t background check them. You can’t pick up the phone and call Syria. And that’s one of the reasons why I said we won’t be able to take more refugees. It’s not that we don’t want to; it’s that we can’t because there’s no way to background check someone that’s coming from Syria,” he said.
“In the case of what’s happening in Europe, this is a swarm of refugees. And as I’ve said repeatedly over the last few months, you can have 1,000 people come in and 999 of them are just poor people fleeing oppression and violence but one of them is an ISIS fighter,” Rubio continued.
Dr. Ben Carson told Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday that he believes the U.S. should not accept Syrian refugees because some of them could Islamic State militants.
“Bringing people into this country from that area of the world, I think, is a huge mistake,” Carson said, noting that some of them could be influenced by ISIL. “Because why wouldn’t they infiltrate them with people who are ideologically opposed to us? It would be foolish for them not to do that.”
“We should use our expertise and resources to help get them resettled — over there — and to support them over there. But to bring them here under these circumstances is a suspension of intellect,” Carson continued. “You know that the human brain has these big frontal lobes, as opposed to other animals, because we can engage in rational thought processing.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told reporters at a campaign event in South Carolina on Sunday that the U.S. should only take in Christian refugees from Syria, not Muslims.
“There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror. If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation,” Cruz said, according to the Washington Post.
“We can’t roll the dice with the safety of Americans and bring in people for whom there is an unacceptable risk that they could be jihadists coming here to kill Americans,” the senator continued, according to the Post. “We just saw in Paris what happens when a country allows ISIS terrorists to come in as refugees and the result can be a horrific loss of life.”
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush also proposed that the U.S. focus on Christian refugees from Syria in light of the Paris attacks.
“The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria. Which means the safe zones need to be serious,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think or focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore. They’re being beheaded, they’re being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help.”
The Obama administration still plans on moving forward with its acceptance of 10,000 Syrian refugees, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told Fox News.
Some of the suspects and attackers identified by French officials are Belgian and French nationals, but authorities said one attacker was carrying papers granting him refugee status in Greece.