Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz addressed the crowd in a Michigan campaign stop on Monday and described US President Barack Obama’s plan to take in refugees from Syria as “nothing short of crazy,” saying he thinks some of them have links with the militant group ISIS.
Cruz said, "There is a reason the director of national intelligence said among those refugees are no doubt a significant number of ISIS terrorists."
"It would be the height of foolishness to bring in tens of thousands of people including jihadists that are coming here to murder innocent Americans," he added.
"The refugees should be resettled in the Middle East in majority Muslim countries."
The director of US national intelligence James Clapper had previously said that ISIS could infiltrate the United States and Western countries through refugees fleeing from Syria.
Clapper has said, “As they descend on Europe, one of the obvious issues that we worry about, and in turn as we bring refugees into this country, is exactly what’s their background?” Clapper said at a US intelligence conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 9.
“We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL [ISIS] to infiltrate operatives among these refugees,” he added.
“That is a huge concern of ours.”
More Syrian refugees in the US?
On Sept.10, the Obama administration unveiled its plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US during the next fiscal year, in addition to its plan to increase the overall number of refugees accepted into the country to 85,000 in one year.
Many refugee advocacy groups including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee praised the administration’s move but they called on the president to resettle more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.
Following this, Obama announced that 100,000 refugees from Syria and other countries would be accepted each year for the next two years.
However, his announcement has not been universally welcomed in the United States, with many top politicians expressing criticism.
Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson stated that the US should bar Syrian refugees as they might be infiltrated by ISIS militants.
Previously House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, a republican from Texas, said that he can not support a policy allowing Syrian Refugees into the United States.
“The president wants to surge thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States, in spite of consistent intelligence community and federal law enforcement warnings that we do not have the intelligence needed to vet individuals from the conflict zone.”
Another Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, also criticized the plan and pledged to send Syrian refugees back to Syria if he is elected.
Trump stated that the Syrian refugees might come to the United States "through the weakness of Obama," but they will return to their country if he becomes president.
"They will not stay here. They are going back to Syria, whether it's safe zones or whatever," he said.
An estimated 1,600 Syrian refugees have been admitted to the United States since 2011. Almost 15,200 Syrian refugees currently await processing by the US for relocation, according to the latest figures released by the State Department.