Allowing Muslim refugees into the U.S. is "lunacy," Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Nov. 17.
After the Paris attacks spurred 27 U.S governors to oppose allowing Syrian refugees into their states, Cruz went a step further Nov. 17, saying he won't allow any Muslim refugees from Syria into the country.
Cruz, the junior senator from Texas, unveiled his plan in an interview with CNN. He said he'll introduce legislation that would outright reject Muslim refugees, while creating measures to vet Christian refugees from the war-torn country. The Texas senator added that he'll seek to defund the federal refugee resettlement program, which has brought in 1,829 Syrians as of Nov. 17. President Barack Obama has said he plans to open the country's doors to as many as 10,000 refugees.
"I was one of the very first to stake out this position. Now we're seeing more and more come over and agree with me," Cruz said in the CNN interview. "And I think you're going to see more and more governors who say, 'I want to protect the citizens of my states and it doesn't make any sense for us to bring potential terrorists into this country.'"
Cruz told CNN he believes Muslim refugees should be resettled in Muslim countries, while Christians who "pose no meaningful risk" to the U.S. would be permitted to apply for refugee status. The senator added that he plans to introduce his legislation this week.
Speaking to reporters from the G20 summmit in Turkey, the president didn't name Cruz, but he took a dig at the Texas senator, whose father was a Cuban immigrant who attended school in the U.S. and eventually became a U.S. citizen.
“When I hear folks say that well maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who is fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Obama said on Nov. 17, according to the New Yorker. “That’s not American. That’s not who we are.”
Cruz responded by saying the president is soft on extremism and isn't willing to admit the problem.
"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."