President Obama is deliberately sending Syrian refugees to Republican-led states, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump alleged on a conservative talk show on Tuesday, Politico is reporting.
Refugees from Syria are now pouring into our great country. Who knows who they are – some could be ISIS. Is our president insane?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 17, 2015
Trump appeared on conservative radio talk show The Laura Ingraham Show on Tuesday to share his thoughts on the Syrian refugee crisis, among other topics.
The Obama administration has put forth a plan to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria over the next year — a plan that Trump opposes. Trump further alleged that the Obama administration is deliberately sending those refugees to Republican states.
“They send them to the Republicans, not to the Democrats, you know because they know the problem … why would we want to bother the Democrats?”
Some 1,500 refugees from Syria have already arrived in the U.S., and in fact, they have settled in Republican-led states, by a margin of two to one. A thousand have gone to states with Republican governors, while another 500 have gone to states with Democratic governors. Although to be fair, Republican-led states outnumber Democrat-led states 31 to 18 (outlier Alaska has an Independent governor).
Ingraham brought up the case of Florida (led by Republican Rick Scott), which has accepted “dozens” of refugees, and which — according to Ingraham, at least — “everybody wants to come to” because of low taxes and good business climate. Trump responded as follows.
“In California, you have a Democrat as a governor; in Florida you have Rick Scott so they send them to the Republicans. Taking these people is absolutely insanity.”
Trump also suggested that the number of Syrian refugees the Obama administration is actually planning to accept is significantly higher than the 10,000 reported. Trump believes Obama intends to accept something on the order of a quarter of a million — a figure Ingraham disputed.
“No I’m talking about now, I’m talking about in terms of Syria. I’ve heard numbers as high as 250,000 people.”
The Obama administration plan to accept Syrian refugees was already controversial prior to last Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed over 120 people and injured over 300, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. According to USA Today, of the eight attackers, at least two had spent time in Syria. The rest were European.
Still, the Paris attacks raised concerns about letting Syrian refugees into the United States, with opponents of the Obama administration plan suggested that allowing Syrian refugees would open the door to ISIS terrorists making their way to the United States.
.@RandPaul: There are many examples of refugees coming in under false pretenses; until we know where everyone is I would say NO refugees.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) November 17, 2015
As of this writing, at least 26 governors have said they’ll block Obama administration attempts to resettle Syrian refugees in their states, according to the New York Times, although how much authority they have to do so is not clear.
Of the over 1,500 Syrian refugees that have been resettled in the U.S. so far, most have been what the Times describes as “the most vulnerable” — that is, single mothers and children, persecuted religious minorities, or those who have already been victims of violence and torture. Some 130 towns and cities have accepted refugees, mostly smaller cities — Boise, Idaho (population: 205,000) has accepted more refugees than New York and Los Angeles combined.
In fact, even if all 10,000 Syrian refugees called for in the Obama administration plan are accepted and settled in the US, they will make up a small number of refugees taken into the country in the last several years. Some 70,000 refugees were accepted into the U.S. in fiscal year 2015, mostly from Myanmar, Somalia, and Iraq.
Do you agree with Donald Trump that the Obama administration is deliberately sending Syrian refugees to Republican-led states? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]