HOUSTON, Texas — Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, told Breitbart News in an exclusive interview here that he wants to restrict immigration from predominantly Muslim countries after the Chattanooga, Tennessee, terrorist attack.
Paul said in an interview backstage at a rally his presidential campaign is holding inside the Hyatt Regency here in downtown Houston:
I’m very concerned about immigration to this country from countries that have hotbeds of jihadism and hotbeds of this Islamism. There was a program in place that Bush had put in place—it stood for entry-exit program from about 25 different countries with a lot of Islamic radicals, frankly. I think there does need to be heightened scrutiny. Nobody has a right to come to America, so this isn’t something that we can say ‘oh their rights are being violated.’ It’s a privilege to come to America and we need to thoroughly screen those who are coming.
The alleged shooter in the Chattanooga incident—which claimed the lives of four U.S. marines, whom he allegedly murdered in the terror attack—was named Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. The 24-year-old was born in Kuwait and immigrated to the United States before he opened fire in Chattanooga, killing four Marines.
Paul also told Breitbart News about another similar incident regarding foreigners from the Middle East who were placed in Kentucky via immigration programs for refugees—and tried to, before getting caught, buy military grade missiles. Paul said:
In my hometown of Bowling Green, Kentucky, we had two Iraqi refugees who were let into our country who were plotting to buy stinger missiles a few years ago, but they got arrested and put in jail. But I think we’re doing the wrong thing by just having this open door policy to bring in people without significant scrutiny. I’m for increasing scrutiny on people who come on student visas from the 25 countries that have significant jihadism. Also, any kind of permanent visas or green cards, we need to be very careful. I don’t think we’re being careful enough with who we let in.
Paul added that he’s planning to, via his position in the U.S. Senate, investigate Muslim immigration problems. Paul is the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management and is also a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“I’m going to have our subcommittee and maybe committee in Homeland Security look into whether or not we could reinstitute this NSEERS [National Security Entry Exit Registration System] program—it was entry-exit program that was heightened scrutiny for 25 predominantly Muslim countries that have significant jihadist movements and anti-American sentiment in their country,” Paul said. “We need increased scrutiny on those countries before those people come to our country to visit or permanently. We have to have heightened scrutiny.”