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Tags: syrian | refugees | presidential | candidates

Where the 18 Presidential Candidates Stand on Syrian Refugees

Where the 18 Presidential Candidates Stand on Syrian Refugees
A Syrian Kurdish man stands next to other refugees taking cover from the rain in the southeastern town of Suruc in the Sanliurfa province after crossing the border between Syria and Turkey after mortars hit both sides on October 2, 2014. (Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 November 2015 11:18 AM EST

A majority of governors across the U.S. have rejected President Barack Obama's call to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees on American soil following Friday night's deadly terror attacks in Paris, and now the 2016 hopefuls are speaking out.

While the U.S. has already settled roughly 1,000 Syrian refugees so far in 2015, many in the Republican party have said we must cease all Syrian resettlement immediately. Democrats running for president, however, have called for sticking to Obama's plan, and in some cases, expanding it.

Gathered below are 18 statements on the Syrian refugee crisis from the men and woman running for president in 2016.

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1. Hillary Clinton
— During Saturday night's Democratic primary debate, the former Secretary of State said that she would expand on Obama's call to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. "The administration originally said 10 [thousand]. I said we should go to 65 [thousand], but only if we have as careful a screening and vetting process as we can imagine, whatever resources it takes," she said, according to National Review.

2. Martin O'Malley
— The former Maryland governor was the first Democratic candidate to call for resettling not 10,000 but 65,000 Syrian refugees in September, and he reiterated his support for that plan on Monday, USA Today reported. "There are women, there are children dying. They are fleeing the same sort of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France and the violence that brought down that [Russian] airliner [over Egypt]. I don't think it's too much to ask of us that we do our part here."

3. Bernie Sanders
Politico reported that the senator from Vermont continues to support President Obama's call for resettling 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. At a Monday campaign rally, he said, "What terrorism is about is trying to instill terror and fear into the hearts of people. And we will not let that happen. We will not be terrorized or live in fear. During these difficult times, we will not succumb to Islamophobia. We will not turn our backs on the refugees who are fleeing Syria and Afghanistan. We will do what we do best and that is be Americans — fighting racism, fighting xenophobia, fighting fear."

4. Ben Carson — The GOP's foremost presidential candidate said at a Monday press conference that the U.S. should defund any "ongoing federal programs that seek to resettle refugees and/or migrants from Syria into the United States, effective immediately," NBC News reported. Like Sen. Marco Rubio, Carson cited background checks as part of his reasoning. "There is currently no ability to vet these people and by doing so, we are putting America at risk. If our president cannot see the risk, then we must rise to the challenge and protect our country."

5. Donald Trump — The real estate mogul and presidential candidate said on Monday that it was "a disgrace" that Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel was letting so many refugees into her country with minimal security checks. He said he would not resettle Syrian refugees in America, as they could be a "Trojan horse" for Islamic terrorists, according to The New York Times. He said that Western nations should create a safe zone in Syria for the refugees instead. "In Syria, take a big swatch of land, which believe me, you get for the right price, okay? You take a big swatch and you don't destroy all of Europe. What I'd like is build a safe zone, it's here, build a big beautiful safe zone and you have whatever it is so people can live, and they'll be happier."

6. Marco Rubio — The rising GOP presidential candidate said Sunday morning on ABC News that the U.S. cannot accept any more Syrian refugees than we already have, Fox News Latino reported. Getting into the reason for his conclusion, he said, "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. Who do you call and do a background check on them?"

7. Ted Cruz — The freshman Texas senator and presidential candidate said this week that he will soon introduce legislation that would bar Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., but left the possibility open for the resettlement of Christians. "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," he said Sunday in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, The Washington Post reported. The following day, he told CNN that, "What Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are proposing is that we bring to this country tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees. I have to say particularly in light of what happened in Paris, that's nothing short of lunacy."

8. Jeb Bush — On Monday, the former Florida governor said that the U.S. should not bring Syrian refugees to America, and suggested settling them in safe zones in the Middle East instead. Like Cruz, he pointed to the importance of helping Christians in the region. "There should be really thorough screening and we should focus on creating safe havens for refugees in Syria rather than bringing them all the way across to the United States," Bush said Monday on CBS News. "But I do think there is a special important need to make sure that Christians from Syria are being protected because they are being slaughtered in the country and but for us who? Who would take care of the number of Christians that right now are completely displaced?"

9. Chris Christie — On Monday night, the New Jersey governor told radio host Hugh Hewitt, "The fact is that we need appropriate vetting, and I don't think that orphans under 5 should be admitted to the United States at this point." He added, "I do not trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are supposed to be coming in in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in," according to NJ.com. As The Daily Beast pointed out, however, "New Jersey ranks in the top 10 for Syrian refugee admissions in 2015."

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10. John KasichAccording to Cincinnati.com, "On Friday, in the initial wake of the attacks, Kasich called for vetting Syrian refugees before welcoming them. But over the weekend, Republican governors and presidential candidates started speaking out against accepting migrants who are escaping Syria's civil war and the so-called Islamic State . . . By Monday morning, Kasich said he opposed settling Syrians in the U.S., at least this year. And by the afternoon, a spokesman said he was writing Obama to ask him not to send any more Syrian migrants to Ohio."

11. Rand Paul — On Monday, the senator from Kentucky said he will soon introduce legislation to suspend the issuance of visas to Syrian refugees and up to 30 other countries, including France, pending a strict background check. "It's about time, and Paris should wake us up that we can't just let anyone come to this country," Paul said in a conference call with reporters, The Washington Post reported Monday. "Forty percent of immigration issues in our country are from visa overstays, and for those visiting us from countries that have large jihadist movements, this will be a bone of contention."

12. Carly Fiorina
— Back in September, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO said, according to Bloomberg News, "The United States, I believe, has done its fair share in terms of humanitarian aid. Certainly, the United States has not led, as I indicated earlier. I think the United States, honestly, sadly, cannot relax our entrance criteria. We are having to be very careful about who we let enter this country from these war-torn regions to ensure that terrorists are not coming here." In the wake of Friday's terror attacks in Paris, Fiorina wrote on Twitter, "Like all of you, I am angry. I am heartsick and heartbroken at the carnage in Paris. We need a president who will see and speak and act on the truth . . . Hillary Clinton will not call this Islamic terrorism. I will." 

13. Mike Huckabee
— On Saturday, the former Arkansas governor said in a radio interview, "How come [the refugees] never end up in the neighborhood where the limousine liberal lives? Behind gated communities and with armed security around? Mrs. Clinton, you have suggested we take in 65,000 refugees. How many can we bring to your neighborhood in Chappaqua?" On Monday, he called for House Speaker Paul Ryan to stop Syrian refugees from being brought to America. "If Ryan will not lead and reject the importation of those fleeing the Middle East without assurances that we can separate refugees from terrorists, then Speaker Ryan needs to step down today and let someone else lead," he said, according to Politico.

14. Lindsey Graham
— During a Monday interview, the senator said that, "The one thing I’ve learned from Paris is that we need to have a timeout on bringing refugees into this country until we have a system that we think will work. So I’m calling for a timeout on Syrian refugees," according to The Hill.

15. Bobby Jindal
— On Monday, the Louisiana governor issued an executive order barring the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state. He cited a section of the state Constitution that reads, "during times of emergency . . . the governor has emergency powers to protect the citizens and property of the state of Louisiana." On Saturday, he also sent a letter to the Obama administration demanding information about Syrian refugees being placed in Louisiana, The Times-Picayune reported.

16. George PatakiAccording to The Hill, the former New York governor said Monday that he opposes Obama's plan to settle more Syrian refugees in the U.S. "There’s zero ability to vet those refugees [and] we know some of them are terrorists. We take 10,000 refugees into this country, if one in 1,000 is a terrorist, that means 10 of them are coming here to engage in terrorist activity and kill Americans," he said. "What are we going to do? Call up the Syrian government and say, 'Hey, by the way, is this guy a terrorist?'" 

17. Rick Santorum — This week, the former senator from Pennsylvania said he opposes the resettlement of any more Syrian refugees in the U.S. According to CBS, he said, "Why are we taking them out of the region? When we do that, and relocate them in America, they’ll never go back into the Middle East. What will that accomplish? It will accomplish everything ISIS sets out to accomplish. When we relocate Christians into the United States, we accomplish want ISIS wants, which is to rid the Middle East of Christians. When we relocate moderate Muslims into the United States, we accomplish exactly what ISIS wants, we take out those who would oppose ISIS out of the region and we relocate them here. So, by bringing them here to this country, instead of relocating them in the region, where they will return and, hopefully, provide a more stable long term future for that area, we are now making the job harder to defeat radical Islam."

18 Jim Gilmore — In September, the former Virginia governor told Fox News that he wasn't keen on taking in Syrian refugees. "I'm not aware that you can just simply take anybody into this country indiscriminately, on the basis that we're a nation of immigrants and then keep the American people completely safe," he said.

Vote Now: Which GOP Candidate Would You Support in 2016?

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A majority of governors across the U.S. have rejected President Barack Obama's call to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees on American soil following Friday night's deadly terror attacks in Paris. Now, the men and women running for president in 2016 are speaking out.
syrian, refugees, presidential, candidates
Tuesday, 17 November 2015 11:18 AM
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