Carson: Syrian refugees don’t want to come to the States

November 29, 2015  

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Saturday said he believed Syrian refugees in refugee camps in Jordan did not want to come to the United States, suggesting that camps should serve as a long-term solution for millions.

“I did not detect any great desire for them to come to the United States,” Carson told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Jordan, where he visited refugee camps. “You’ve got these refugee camps that aren’t completely full. And all you need is the resources to be able to run them. Why do you need to create something else?”

Carson had toured the Azraq camp in northern Jordan under heavy Jordanian security, with journalists barred. Carson’s campaign also limited access, not providing his itinerary.

After the visit, Carson said he didn’t learn anything that gives him confidence in authorities’ ability to screen potential terrorists.

“What I learned is that you’re going to get a different answer from everybody depending on what their slant is,” he said, according to AP, reiterating his opposition to allowing any of the refugees to the United States.

“I always oppose doing unnecessary things, particularly dangerous and costly unnecessary things,” Carson added.

Carson called on the American people — not the U.S. government — to launch a “humanitarian drive” to raise billions of dollars that officials say is needed to improve conditions for refugees settled across several countries in the Middle East.

“All they need is adequate funding. It’s really quite impressive when you go over there and see it,” Carson told AP, adding that some areas had recreational facilities, schools, electricity and indoor plumbing.

“They were a lot happier. They were quite willing to stay there as long as it takes before they can get back home.”

The issue of absorbing Syrian refugees has been a hot topic of discussion in the United States recently, especially in the wake of the discovery of a Syrian passport near the body of one assailant in the Paris attacks.

No less than 24 states announced last week they would block the program to resettle Syrian migrants within their borders, and the House of Representatives approved a resolution which aims to block administration plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming year. 

Carson and his GOP rivals have expressed concern that extremists may sneak into the U.S. among the Syrian refugees. Last week, he likened blocking potential terrorists posing as Syrian refugees to handling “mad dogs”, noted AP.

Obama, for his part, has threatened to veto the Republican legislation and this week reminded state officials across the country that states do not have legal authority to refuse to accept Syrian refugees.

Carson on Saturday also suggested that it would be best to absorb Syrian refugees in Middle Eastern host countries, which have given temporary shelter to most of the more than four million Syrians who have fled civil war in their country since 2011.

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