Syrian refugee policy takes focus in US race
WASHINGTON: The bloody attacks in Paris are putting the Syrian refugee crisis at center stage in US politics as migrants from that war-torn comtry surge toward the West and security concerns rise. Republican presidential contender Marco Rubio on Sunday said the United States should no longer accept Syrian refugees because it’s impossible to know whether they have links to Islamic militants - an apparent shift from earlier statements in which the Florida senator left open the prospects of migrants being admitted with proper vetting.
“It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s that we can’t,” Rubio said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “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?” The question of admitting Syrian refugees has for months been part of the national security discussion among 2016 candidates that cuts to the heart of the American identity as a refuge. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush on Sunday told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the US should admit Syrian Christians, after proper vetting. Other Republican candidates have called for a ban on allowing Syrians into the US All three Democratic presidential candidates have said they would admit Syrians but only after thorough background checks.
But Friday night’s mass killings in Paris, which left at least 129 people dead, offered evidence that may have backed up what many, including Rubio, had been warning: People with secret ties to Islamic militants could flow across borders within the waves of refugees. Authorities said a Syrian passport found near one of the Paris suicide bombers that had been registered last month and traveled through three European countries along a busy migrant corridor known for lax controls. It was not clear whether the document was real or forged, or whether it belonged to the suicide bomber. Officials on Sunday were still trying to identify people involved in the conspiracy. They said as many as three of the seven suicide bombers who died in the attacks were French citizens.—AP