The Presidential Candidates on the Refugees


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Kathryn Daigle ‘17, Assistant Editor

After the Paris attacks, many candidates are shifting their previous sentiments about the refugee crisis. Some are against taking in refugees while others encourage accepting refugees, but they all have one goal in mind: to protect present and future Americans.

Few candidates are pro refugee, or hoping to harbor people who flee their war-torn country. Hillary Clinton would like to increase the number of refugees that the US shelters to 65,000. However, she does support a careful and thorough screening process. Martin O’Malley  supports the number and screening process suggested by Clinton,  saying, “There are women and children dying and fleeing the same sort of carnage that was unleashed on the people of France. This is a time for American leadership, not a time for us to cower.” Bernie Sanders also supports accepting people in association with the refugee “problem”, saying “We will do what we do best and that is be Americans – fighting racism, fighting xenophobia (the fear of people from other countries), fighting fear.”

One candidate, Lindsey Graham, suggested not taking refugees until government officials are convinced that they have the proper systems in place for a potential flood of refugees. However, he believes that America must take its fair share of refugees. “I don’t see how you can lead the free world and turn your back on people who are seeking it. Turning away families fleeing violence is to take the Statue of Liberty and tear it down … because we don’t mean it anymore.”

Many of the candidates oppose accepting refugees because they fear that letting in refugees will bring in terrorists. Ted Cruz suggests that the US should bar Syrian refugees from the country. However, he would make an exception for Christian refugees, whom he says have a low risk for committing acts of terror. Jeb Bush agreed with Cruz on some points, saying, “I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening, and I think our 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.” However, Bush does not agree with Cruz’s religion test, trying to weed out the Christians. While Chris Christie said nothing about religions, he is convinced that Americans take priority, stating that “We need to put the safety and security of the American people first.” Anti- immigration sentiment spreader Donald Trump wants to exclude the refugees from America altogether and instead favors creating “a big beautiful safe zone” for these people to live. Marco Rubio is opposed to the influx of refugees from a security standpoint as well, saying, “It’s not that we don’t want to, it’s that we can’t.” Doctor Ben Carson also opposes supporting the refugees, telling Paul Ryan, “The United States cannot, should not, and must not accept any Syrian refugees.” Mike Huckabee declares that he does not think that America should take in any more refugees, saying, “The Statue of Liberty says bring us your tired and your weary. It didn’t say bring us your terrorists and let them come in here and bomb neighborhoods, cafes and concert halls.” George Pataki also opposes refugees coming to America, fearing that doing so will let in terrorists aiming to kill Americans. Rand Paul, who also resists refugees, is introducing a bill in Congress that will regulate the amount of refugees allowed onto American soil. Rick Santorum fears that allowing refugees will aid ISIS in accomplishing their goals, so he stands opposed to accepting Syrian refugees.

Which candidate do you most agree with? Why do you agree with them? Consider your options before you vote and think hard about this issue, because this decision will redefine the priorities of America.