Rand Paul said on Tuesday that, while basing an immigration moratorium on religion was a "mistake," he had already "called for something similar."
The Republican presidential candidate and Kentucky senator was commenting on Donald Trump's statement, released on Monday. Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."
"I think it's a mistake to base immigration or moratoriums based on religion," Paul said on New Hampshire Today radio. "But you know, I've called for something similar, which is a moratorium based on high risk. And so we have examined where the high risk of terrorism comes from and it's about 34 countries. I would put a pause on all immigration from those 34 countries."
Paul said that "all the hoopla" about Trump's proposal was "interesting" and that "people don't seem to understand that a similar concept" in the form of his bill, titled the Stop Extremists Coming Under Refugee Entry Act, has already come to a vote.
"And I have actually introduced legislation and got a vote on it," he said. "I had a vote on it just last week, which is kind of interesting, all the hoopla, because people don't seem to understand that a similar concept has already been voted on."
The bill didn't pass the Senate, which voted against it 10-89.
"I think it is a good idea to put a pause on immigration because I think that we don't have a good handle on who's here now," Paul continued. "I think we don't have a good handle on who's entering the country and whether they're obeying our laws."
Christopher Massie is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Christopher Massie at Christopher.Massie@buzzfeed.com.
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