Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Donald Trump's new "expanded" ban would include not just Muslims but also Christians and Jews from countries with a history of terrorism.
"We should temporarily suspend immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism, which I think is altogether fitting and appropriate," Pence said. "When you look at the Syrian refugee program — we had another incident in Belgium over the weekend — the simple fact is that both our homeland security and FBI have said there are countries like Syria where people are coming in through routine means, the refugees program and otherwise, and we can simply not know who they are for sure. So suspending that program from those countries, I think, is in the best interest of the security of our people."
Pence was asked if this meant the program would include Jewish and Christian citizens of those countries, and he reiterated again the policy was based on countries where terrorism existed.
"I think what you heard in the convention speech, what we talked about out on the stump is that we would temporarily suspend from countries or from territories if you will — the caliphate obviously of ISIS expands beyond one country — but to say that individuals that come from regions or countries that have been compromised by terrorism, that we would expand that immigration. I think that's appropriate until we develop a new vetting system."
Trump said on Meet the Press last month his proposal, which now included anyone "from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism," was actually an "expansion" of his total ban on Muslim immigration.
Pence noted his attempts to stop Syrian refugee resettlement in Indiana. Despite Obama administration efforts to dramatically increase the number of refugees from the Syrian conflict, far fewer have actually made it through vetting. The US system for accepting refugees is significantly stricter than the European system.
Notably, Pence spoke out against Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States last year. Last year, he tweeted, "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the US are offensive and unconstitutional."
"As the record reflects, when that topic came up — I think it was the better part of a half a year ago or more — I made my position on that clear and the concerns that I expressed," Pence said Monday of Trump's proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Andrew Kaczynski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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