Republican presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul suggests the United States should apply more screening to French citizens entering the country.
The Kentucky Republican told Fox News on Wednesday that the US is facing terror threats from people coming into the country not just as refugees but as visitors too.
“I think our biggest entry for those who would attack us is coming to visit, basically, coming as a refugee or coming as a visitor or coming as a student,” Paul said.
Since a string of deadly attacks in Paris on Friday night, calls have grown in the United States for blocking the entry of Syrian refugees fleeing war and persecution in their country.
The Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group, operating in Iraq and Syria, has claimed responsibility for the carnage. However, all the attackers identified so far are believed to be European citizens.
“We also have to be concerned about French citizens coming here. Most of the people involved in the attack, I think, are going to turn out to be French citizens. … I would stop that. I would say nobody comes unless they’re part of Global Entry.”
Global Entry is a program run by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that allows expedited clearance for low-risk travelers — who have already gone through a background check and screening — upon their arrival in the United States.
President Barrack Obama will not sign a bill in the House of Representatives that would reject entry to Syrian refugees, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.
“This legislation would introduce unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism, and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis,” the statement added.
Sen. Paul said it is “absurd” for Obama to suggest refugees do not pose a security risk when there are cases of them being involved in terrorism.
“The first thing to do to protect our homeland and our people is we should be very, very cautious about those who come here to visit, study or those who want to emigrate here,” he said.
Presidential candidate and GOP Senator Ted Cruz echoed similar concerns over the weekend. “Anyone with an ounce of common sense would say ‘no, we shouldn’t be bringing in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.'”
Paul Ryan, the new speaker of the House, escalated the political row by announcing a “pause” in Syrian refugees coming to the US.
Ryan assembled a task force on Tuesday to work on the legislation dealing with refugees, which the House could vote on as soon as Thursday.
“Our nation has always been welcoming but we cannot let terrorists take advantage of our compassion,” Ryan told reporters after a closed-door House GOP meeting.
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