Florida Senator and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio declared, “If you cannot properly vet someone, whether they’re Muslim or not, they shouldn’t be allowed into the United States, irrespective of what their faith background might be” on Tuesday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.
Rubio said, “what I’ve said repeatedly is it’s not that we don’t want to allow refugees, it’s that you can’t allow someone that you can fully vet. … You can vet them a million times and nothing’s going to turn up, because we don’t have reliable databases from people coming from especially — from Syria. And then we face another distinct challenge, and that is American citizens, people that have lived in this country their entire life, as we saw last week in San Bernardino, who have become radicalized online, through overseas travel, whatever it may be, and then they conduct an atrocious act of terror and war against our country.”
He added, “it wouldn’t be a religious test. Look, the king of Saudi Arabia, a strong ally of the United States, his son attends Georgetown University. So he’s not going to be allowed in? What is that going to do to our relations with an important ally in the region? My point is, that number — it’s not constitutional to begin with. I mean, you — that sort of blanket denial of entry into the country, and he even implied US citizens who traveled abroad who are Muslim would not be allowed to come back in.”
Rubio further stated that there isn’t a constitutional right for foreign citizens to enter the US, but “we’ve never had a religious test, and I would just say to you that to have a religious test would violate the Constitution. But to move further on this issue, it’s not that we’re banning people because of their faith. Look, we need to work with Muslims in the Middle East, Sunnis need to defeat this radical Sunni group. The issue is can we properly vet people coming into this country? If you cannot properly vet someone, whether they’re Muslim or not, they shouldn’t be allowed into the United States, irrespective of what their faith background might be. You have to be able to properly vet everyone.”
He continued that he hopes for, “not a pause because of a religious test, but a pause because we can’t vet people. Even if we tried to, we don’t have enough information from that region to vet anyone. It’s not because of their religion. It’s because we don’t have information about the region.” He further stated that improving databases “may not happen any time in the foreseeable future, because ISIS has grown increasingly capable at eluding the kinds of things that detect potential terrorists.”
He later said the “more fundamental question is “are people coming to live in America, or are they coming to become Americans?” He added that determining who’s who is “a hard thing to do. … And we’re going to have to explore that.”
Rubio concluded, “you would be concerned about someone who is saying that they want to impose on this country, and on local jurisdictions religious tests and religious laws that are held in other countries around the world. You would be concerned. And again, the purpose of our permanent immigration system should to be to attract people to this country who are coming to become Americans, which is one of the reasons why I’ve argued that we need to move towards a merit-based system of immigration, where the primary criteria that we would use to admit someone to the country would be, what job are they going to fill, what skills do they have, for what economic purpose are they coming to the United States? It isn’t going to solve all these problems. This is a very unique situation that we’re now facing, that’s really begun to accelerate over the last few years. And I think we need to think about it very seriously and very responsibly in a way that can pass both constitutional muster, but also keep our country safe.”
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