Though Texas officials have said that they won’t permit any Syrian refugees to settle in their state, Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz has taken a slightly different approach. Cruz has suggested that only Christian refugees be allowed into the United States, while Muslims be moved to countries where Islam is the majority religion.
Though Cruz’s suggestion that refugees undergo a religion test was slammed by President Barack Obama as being un-American, Cruz defended his position during an interview with CNN and said Christians were not a “meaningful” security threat.
“There is no doubt we would need to vet anyone coming in, but there is no indication that we have Muslims pretending to be Christians in the coming refugee wave," Cruz said. "If that develops to be a problem, then our first obligation should be protecting our national security."
Cruz believes Christian refugees will be outcast in Muslim-majority nations, but that Muslim refugees will be more welcome, leaving the U.S. to pick up the slack.
Cruz is now using his congressional powers to introduce a bill that would ban Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., The Washington Post reports.
Obama called the proposed ban "shameful."
"That's not American," he said. "That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion."
"It's not surprising that President Obama is attacking me personally," Cruz said. "I'll tell you what is shameful is that we have a President that after seven years still refuses to utter the words, 'radical Islamic terrorism,' [and] claims that somehow [it's] a religious test. [It's] not that at all. It is understanding the nature of the evil we face.”
The idea that Cruz, the son of a Cuban refugee, is willing to deny those seeking an escape from terrorism may seem unbalanced, if not hypocritical, but he told CNN that his family’s situation was different.
“If my father were part of a theocratic and political movement like radical Islam that promotes murdering anyone who doesn't share your extreme faith or forcibly converting them, it would make perfect sense not to let someone in who a embraces political philosophy and theology that says murder the infidels," Cruz said.