Right-wing media figures are supporting calls from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) to stop the Syrian refugee program over worries the refugees could be terrorists, saying Ryan is “exactly right” and his statement is “common sense.” This comes as Christian resettlement groups are criticizing calls by GOP figures to block the refugees.
Paul Ryan Calls For Syrian Refugee “Pause”
Paul Ryan Asks For Halt In Syrian Refugee Program. House Speaker Paul Ryan called for the Obama administration to “pause” the program that accepts Syrian refugees into the United States and promised to introduce legislation that would halt the program. Ryan argued we need “a more comprehensive assessment of how to better guarantee that members of ISIS are not infiltrating themselves among the refugee population”:
House Republicans under the new leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are racing to pass legislation this week that would halt a federal program for resettling Syrian refugees in the U.S.
Ryan said Tuesday that the nation needs a better process for ensuring that terrorists do not use the program to sneak into the country, and said the issue cannot wait until mid-December, when Congress is scheduled to pass a spending bill to fund the federal government next year.
“We have ... a refugee situation that we think requires a pause and a more comprehensive assessment of how to better guarantee that members of ISIS are not infiltrating themselves among the refugee population,” Ryan told reporters Tuesday.
Ryan could not provide details of what programs might be covered by a “pause.” Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is heading up a GOP task force that will develop the details and propose legislation later this week, Ryan said. [USA Today, 11/17/15]
Right-Wing Media Praise Ryan's Plan To Halt Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees
Laura Ingraham: “I'm Glad” Ryan Is Speaking Out Against Refugee Program. During the November 17 edition of Courtside Entertainment Group's The Laura Ingraham Show, host Laura Ingraham praised Ryan's announcement, saying, “I'm glad” Ryan and Republicans are trying to block the refugee program, adding, “we are looking for Republican leadership on this issue”:
LAURA INGRAHAM: Paul Ryan is speaking out right now about the attacks in France. He's getting an enormous amount of pressure from Republicans across this country to speak out and lead. But he said the House is drafting a plan to pause the refugee program, to put a pause on it. Well I'm glad they're drafting something now. This happened, we found this out 48 hours ago about the refugee being one of the attackers so I'm not, I'm not positive as to why this has taken so long but nevertheless he's speaking now on Capitol Hill and saying that he does hear your concerns and he is acting to draft a plan that would pause the refugee program. Again, we are looking for Republican leadership on this issue. You can defund this refugee program, you do have the power of the purse. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 11/17/15]
Rush Limbaugh: Paul Ryan Is “Exactly Right” And “Makes Some Sense” Calling For Refugee Pause. During the November 17 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh endorsed Ryan's call, saying he was “exactly right” and “Ryan's idea of a pause here makes some sense”:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Paul Ryan wants to pause, put a pause on the Syrian refugee program, press conference today, Capitol Hill in Washington, this, the new Republican Speaker of the House.
Because we can't vet them. He's exactly right. The libs are trying to say that we're throwing our values away, that we accept anybody, that we are the single experiment in freedom and openness and tolerance and if we shut it down we're no better than anybody else in the rest of the world. We have to let them in. It's absurd what they are saying. Backed up of course with the drive-by media. But we can't vet them. We don't know who they are. There's no way to know. Ryan's idea of a pause here makes some sense. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/17/15]
Sean Hannity: “I Agree” With Ryan That Obama Is “Compromising National Security” With Refugee Program. During the November 17 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, host Sean Hannity said “I agree” with Paul Ryan that “Obama's compromising national security with the Syrian refugee program”:
SEAN HANNITY: Anyway, the issue of -- well we now have 25 Republican governors at least, one Democratic governor, saying they're vowing to block Syrian refugees from resettling in their states and I don't think you can trust this president, especially in light of what our National Director of Intelligence is saying, in light of what our FBI Director is saying, in light of what our Assistant Director for the FBI is saying, and our House Homeland Security Committee Chairman is saying. That we can't -- that ISIS and al-Qaeda will infiltrate the refugee community. Now the question is, well, what are, what's Congress going to do? Paul Ryan is out there saying that Obama's compromising national security with the Syrian refugee program. I agree with him. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/17/15]
Townhall's Cortney O'Brien: Ryan's Call For Refugee Halt Is “Common Sense.” Townhall deputy news editor Cortney O'Brien wrote Paul Ryan's call to pause the refugee program “is just the first common sense step”:
With America's national security in mind, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Tuesday morning his wish to “pause” the White House's plan to accept 100,000 Syrian refugees by 2017. The House, he said, will vote on corresponding legislation as soon as possible.
Ryan's sentiment is echoed by 30 governors who say they will refuse to accept Syrian refugees.
The recent tragedy in Paris demands action from our leaders. Halting the refugee program is just the first common sense step. [Townhall, 11/17/15]
Christian Resettlement Groups Criticize Halting Refugee Program
Faith-Based Groups Resettling Refugees Oppose GOP Calls To Halt Refugee Program. According to a November 18 Politico article, Christian groups, a core part of the Republican electoral base, are breaking with the GOP over the Syrian refugee crisis. Faith-based groups who play a key role in helping to resettle refugees to the United States have been “dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor,” with one organization leader stating that the push by Republican figures to ban Syrian refugees “does not reflect what we've been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country.” From Politico:
Faith-based groups, who play a key role in resettling refugees to the United States, say they are dismayed by the wave of anti-refugee fervor set off by the Paris terrorist attacks and are urging supporters to contact elected officials on behalf of victims of the Syrian civil war.
Evangelical Christians, as well as Christians more broadly, are a core group in the Republican electoral base and are among the most passionate advocates for aiding refugees.
A push by Republican presidential candidates to ban Syrian refugees “does not reflect what we've been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country,” said Jenny Yang, vice president for advocacy at World Relief, an evangelical organization that helps resettle refugees. “Most of the people have been saying we want to continue to work with refugees, that what happened in Paris ... doesn't reflect who refugees are.”
World Relief is one of nine groups, several of them faith-based, that help the U.S. resettle up to 70,000 refugees from around the world in the United States each year. Others include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and the Church World Service. Many other faith-based groups, including evangelical Christian organizations, also perform aid work overseas specifically aimed at refugees fleeing conflicts.
For Republican presidential contenders such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who have been working hard at shoring up evangelical support in a crowded field, harsh words against refugees carries a risk of looking politically opportunistic instead of compassionate. Some advocates were particularly shocked when Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie, New Jersey's governor, said that the U.S. should bar Syrian orphaned toddlers if necessary.
“That was offensive. That was mean-spirited,” said one advocate with a Christian group that resettles refugees. He added: “it's disappointing because there have been Republican senators and presidents who have strongly supported this program over the years. There's a proud tradition in the Republican Party of welcoming those who are fleeing persecution, and this takes the party in a negative direction. It's easy to pick on vulnerable refugees who have no voice. But there are immigrant groups who have voting power that understand what is going on. They understand that it's an anti-immigrant message.” [Politico, 11/17/15]