Carson After Tour: Syrian Refugees Don’t Want to Come to US
After touring Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Saturday suggested that camps should serve as a long-term solution for millions, while other refugees could be absorbed by Middle Eastern countries.
“I did not detect any great desire for them to come to the United States,” Carson told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Jordan. “You’ve got these refugee camps that aren’t completely full. And all you need is the resources to be able to run them. Why do you need to create something else?”
The retired neurosurgeon toured the Azraq camp in northern Jordan under heavy Jordanian security, with journalists barred. Carson’s campaign also limited access, not providing his itinerary.
After the Azraq visit, Carson said he didn’t learn anything that gives him confidence in authorities’ ability to screen potential terrorists. “What I learned is that you’re going to get a different answer from everybody depending on what their slant is,” he said, reiterating his opposition to allowing any Syrian refugees to come to the United States.
More than 4 million Syrians have fled their homeland since 2011, after a popular uprising erupted against President Bashar Assad and quickly turned into a devastating civil war. Most initially settled in neighboring countries, but they are largely barred from working legally and have to resort to informal, low-paying jobs if they can find employment at all.
Overwhelmed host countries, particularly Lebanon and Jordan, have balked at the idea of longer-term integration of refugees. They have complained that they are carrying an unfair burden while the international community’s support has fallen short.