Republican Presidential hopefuls have been making claims that the Syrian refugees are an imminent threat to the national security of the United States and have been proposing to deny them entry on American soil.
President Barack Obama’s administration has set out a plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the following year, which has been immediately criticized by Republicans, especially since the Paris attacks on the 13th of November in which 129 people were killed.
The most vocal proponent of shutting down borders is billionaire and frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the 2016 Election, Donald Trump, who has been calling for creating a database in order to track all Muslims in the United States.
According to Reuters, he appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday and was asked whether he would rule out creating a database to track Muslims. He responded “No, not at all,” and added that the database would be more focused on Muslim refugees that are coming from the Middle East, rather than Muslim Americans. He said “I want a database for the refugees. We have no idea who these people are. When the Syrian refugees are going to start pouring into this country, we don’t know if they are ISIS, we don’t know if it is a Trojan horse. And I definitely want a database and other checks and balances.”
On the other hand, Ohio Governor John Kasich, who while being on NBC’s “Meet The Press” heavily criticized Trump’s comments and said “I flat out condemned the idea that we were going to have Muslims register. The idea that we are going to repel an entire group of people on basis of their religion, it’s nonsense.”
Other Republican Presidential contenders expressed their worry that the vetting process would not deter the Islamic State extremists from infiltrating the Syrian refugees.
According to Reuters, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that the screening process would not work, adding that “orphans under the age of 5 should not be admitted to the country, because there is no one to care for them.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida reiterated the claims of each Republican candidate that the vetting process does not work and that it may take up to two years. He said “The United States is the ultimate prize in their mind”, meaning that they would easily bypass the refugee screenings.
Trump’s rhetoric against immigration and taking in refugees from war torn countries in the Middle East has been marked by his statement that the United States has no other choice but to close down the mosques. He backtracked on Sunday and stated “I don’t want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques.” He also reiterated his support for using the waterboarding technique when torturing prisoners during interrogation.
The issue of refugees has become a major point in the Presidential race and has created divisions among the Republican Party. On the other hand, the Democrat stance is that it is in American values to be humanitarian and open doors to the refugees.