Obama calls letting in Christian refugees "shameful" and "unamerican"
President Obama on Monday condemned calls from Republican presidential candidates to only allow Christian refugees from Syria into the United States, describing the push as “shameful” and “not American.”
In a press conference following the G-20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, Obama dug in his heels on allowing 10,000 new refugees into the country this year despite increasing opposition from conservatives following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday evening.
“The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism, they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife,” Obama said in an unprompted defense of his plan.
Obama’s ire appeared directed at presidential candidates Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), who over the weekend called for the U.S. to focus on the Christians fleeing the Syrian chaos.
“When I hear folks say that, ‘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 person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful,” Obama said.
Cruz’s family is from Cuba. The Texan often mentions how his father sought refuge in the U.S. to flee the repressive Communist island.
Over the weekend, both Cruz and Bush said that the attacks in Paris ought to prompt a change in the Obama administration’s plan to admit more Syrian refugees.
“We need to be working to provide a safe haven for those Christians who are being persecuted and facing genocide, and at the same time we shouldn't be letting terrorists into America,” Cruz said at a campaign stop in South Carolina.
"There is no meaningful risk of Christians committing acts of terror,” Cruz added to reporters, according to The Washington Post. “If there were a group of radical Christians pledging to murder anyone who had a different religious view than they, we would have a different national security situation."