Republican Gov. Mike Pence and Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine offered voters two distinctly different choices on the issue of Syrian refugees, at the Oct. 4 vice-presidential debate.
Pence, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, told voters the GOP ticket wants to suspend acceptance of the Syrian refugees.
Kaine, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate, said he and the former Secretary of State want to accelerate the Syrian refugee program, a position he has held since May 2015. Back then, he was one of fourteen U.S. Senators, dubbed by critics the “Jihad Caucus,” who called for an increase in the number of Syrian refugees resettled in the United States to 65,000 annually. It’s a position Clinton herself has supported since September 2015.
In Fiscal Year 2016, the Obama administration resettled over 12,500 Syrian refugees in the United States, a dramatic contrast to the 2,300 who resettled in all four previous fiscal years.
“Donald Trump and I are committed to suspending the Syrian refugee program and programs and immigration from areas of the world that have been compromised by terrorism.” Pence said.
“Donald Trump has called for extreme vetting, so we don’t bring people in to the United States who are hostile to our Bill of Rights freedoms, who are hostile to the American way of life,” he stated. “Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to increase the Syrian refugee program by 500 [per cent],” Pence added.
Kaine, Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton’s running mate, offered a different choice on Syrian refugees. “We have different views on refugee issues and on immigration,” Kaine said.
“Hillary and I will do immigration enforcement and we’ll vet refugees based on whether they’re dangerous or not. These guys say all Mexicans are bad,” Kaine said.
“And with respect to refugees, we want to keep people out if they’re dangerous. Donald Trump said keep them out if they’re Muslim. Mike Pence put together a program that said keep them out if they’re from Syria,” Kaine added.
According to the new Breitbart/Gravis poll released on Wednesday, voters overwhelmingly agree with Trump and Pence on the Syrian refugees issue.
In the national poll of 1,690 registered voters conducted on October 3, sixty-two percent oppose increasing Syrian refugees, while 54 percent said they do not believe the claim by President Barack Obama that Syrian refugees have been subjected to the most rigorous security vetting.
The Obama administration wants to increase the number of refugees coming into the United States by 29 percent next year to 110,000, up from 85,000 this year. Do you approve or disapprove of this increase?
Hillary Clinton’s supporters at the Refugee Council want to increase the number of refugees coming into the United States in 2017 even more, to 200,000, and Hillary wants to increase the number of Syrian refugees in that total from 10,000 in 2016 to 65,000 in 2017. Do you approve or disapprove of this increase?
Do you believe that Syrian refugees arriving in the United States have been subjected to the most rigorous security vetting, as the Obama Administration claims?
Kaine attempted to score points by citing a recent court decision that rejected Indiana’s plan to stop Syrian refugees, but that effort backfired when Pence offered a compelling rebuttal. “And yesterday an Appellate Court with three Republican judges struck down the Pence plan and said it was discriminatory,” Kaine said.
“Those judges said this was because there wasn’t any evidence . . . yet . . . that ISIS had infiltrated the United States,” Pence hit back. “Well, Germany just arrested three Syrian refugees who were connected to ISIS….,” Pence continued, before Kaine interrupted him, one of the seventy times he did so during the evening.
“But they told you there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it,” Kaine said.
“Well look, if you’re going to be critical of me on that, that’s fair game,” Pence responded. “But look, I will tell you after two Syrian refugees were involved in the attack in Paris that is called Paris’s 9-11, as governor of the state of Indiana, I have no higher priority than the safety and security of the people of my state,” Pence responded.
“As Vice President of the United States, we’re going to put the safety and security of the people of the United States first,” he added.
Kaine disagreed with Pence. “But let’s be clear. Hillary and I will do immigration enforcement, and we’ll vet refugees based on whether they’re dangerous or not, we won’t do it based on discriminating against you for the country you come from or the religion you have,” he said.
“That is completely antithetical to the Jeffersonian values of equality,” he insisted.
“The director of the FBI said, the [head] of Homeland Security said we can’t know who these people are, coming from [Syria]…,” Pence began, before Kaine interrupted him again.
“Yes, we can. If we don’t know who they are, we don’t let them in,” Kaine said.
Pence returned to his theme.
“The director of the FBI and Homeland Security said we can’t know for certain … You’ve got to err on the side of the safety and security of the American people,” he told Kaine.
“By trashing all Syrians, by trashing all Muslims?” Kaine asked.
The message disciplined Pence drove home his point in response. “We’re going to put the safety and security of the American people first,” he concluded.