Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Tuesday that the United States "should take in zero" Syrian refugees.
"This is very simple, the bottom line is we should take in zero," Lewandowski said when asked by radio host John Fredericks what a President Trump would do about the refugee crisis.
"And the Untied States, to be clear, has a process for bringing refugees into the country, and an individual must qualify as a refugee to begin that process, is how it works. Individuals caught in a civil war do not necessarily qualify as refugees," Lewandowski continued
"If Mr. Trump were the president of the United States we would not be bringing refugees into the country under this criteria," Lewandowski said.
In past interviews, Trump has not completely ruled out taking in refugees from Syria.
On September 8th, Trump told Bill O'Reilly: "I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, you have to" accept some refugees.
On September 15th, Trump told Morning Joe that "the answer is possibly yes" to accepting refugees, even though "we have so many problems of our own."
"There's only so much we can do — we have to fix our own country," he explained. "Now, Europe is handling it, Germany has been very generous so far, which is very surprising to me, to be honest with you."
"But it's a huge problem, and we should help as much as possible, but we do have to fix our own country," Trump concluded.
On Tuesday, Lewandowski took this line of argument a step further, arguing that "it is time — and Mr. Trump has said this, time and time again — to put Americans first."
"While I understand our position in the global economy, and how important the United States is in world public affairs, it is time to look at the people who are in our country first who are struggling — the middle class, the bottom class of people who can't survive — and give them opportunities," said Lewandowski. "And this is exactly what the issue is, when it comes to not just bringing in refugees, but illegal immigrants.
"It is time to build a wall, it is time to make sure our borders are secure, it is time to make sure that the people who are at the lowest economic status in this country, their jobs are not being taken away from illegal immigrants who are coming to this country illegally," he continued. "Why don't we let those people — give them the opportunity to do the jobs, give them the opportunity to have a leg up, give them the opportunity to make their lives better, before we worry about the people in other parts of the world who aren't U.S. citizens to begin with?"
Ilan Ben-Meir is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Ilan Ben-Meir at email@example.com.
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