As the Syrian refugee situation in Europe continues unabated, Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday that while the United States should be "warm and welcoming," there are dangers in being indiscriminate with accepting refugees — and argued the U.S. involvement in Syria has exacerbated the refugee situation.
KEILAR: What do you think about how the United States should be involved in this and if the United States should take in any refugees?
PAUL: I don't think there are any easy answers as far as how we stop war and stop famine around the world, and so it will probably continue to occur. The one thing I think we should do in the Middle East that could maybe make some of these wars less harmful is I don't think we should be arming people who hate us. I think it's sad and it's a travesty that ISIS now has a billion dollars worth of Humvees. They ride around in our tanks. They have our weapons; they have anti-tank weapons. And I think that's a mistake because we got involved in this Syrian civil war and we got on the side of al Qaeda and ISIS, which I think was a terrible tragedy and a terrible mistake by President Obama. We are a welcoming nation, and we have accepted a lot of refugees, and I think we will continue to do so, but we also can't accept the whole world, so there are some limits. I also think that those who come to our country, we need to get them to assimilate into our country, and I don't think it's a good idea to develop whole populations within the U.S. who really don't like the U.S., so I think we have to be selective and careful and we are a welcoming country, but we just can't take everybody.
KEILAR: You think the U.S. should play a part in this, though? Because obviously Germany, a lot of other European countries are trying to figure out a way to accommodate some of these refugees. Do you see the U.S. fitting into that effort?
PAUL: Part of the way we can be helpful in the effort is not by further and making the war worse in that part of the region, because they flee the famine and the disaster of war—
KEILAR: But they are fleeing at this point. These refugees specifically at this point in time, where we know a lot of them are held up at certain parts of the border in Europe. Should the U.S. play a role in that or should the U.S. be looking more to Europe to deal with this?
PAUL: Well, the people who live there will obviously have a bigger stake in accepting refugees. But we have been a very generous nation — and we have accepted a lot of refugees. We've already accepted refugees from Syria, we accepted a lot from Somalia. But we've also run into some problems with accepting so many refugees that we take some of the people who could rebuild the country; we did this with Iraq, where we won the war but then we accepted 60,000 Iraqi refugees into our country some of which wish us harm. Same way with Somalia; we received so many refugees and immigrants from Somalia, that many of them are actually part of the faction that has actually gone back to Syria to fight against us. So I think we do have to be careful with this, and we should have a warm and welcoming heart, but we also just can't accept the whole world to come here.
Katherine Miller is the political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Katherine Miller at email@example.com.
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