The 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq sparked a massive refugee crisis as millions fled their homes, and the U.S. has been widely criticized for failing to resettle refugees, including those who fled after being violently threatened and targeted for working with the U.S. government.
Kentucky senator and presidential candidate Rand Paul, however, thinks that the U.S. should not resettle such refugees since they would be better off in Iraq and, after all, the U.S. “won the war.”
While speaking with Iowa-based radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, Paul criticized efforts by the U.S. and the United Nations to settle Iraqi refugees in the country. Mickelson was even more sweeping, attacking efforts to settle Muslim refugees in general.
“We won the war in Iraq, why would we be giving political asylum to people to come from a country where we won the war?” Paul asked. “It’s one thing if you’re trying to escape Castro or trying to escape communism in Russia or Vietnam or somewhere else or China, I can understand asylum, but when you win the war, why would you give people asylum? And if the 60,000 coming here are friends of the West, wouldn’t you want that 60,000 to be in Iraq helping to form a better country over there?”
He continued: “If you let the better people, the people who like the United States leave and come here, then aren’t you diminishing the numbers of folks that would make that country a better place to live? So I think the whole idea of resettling 60,000 people from Iraq over here was a mistake. But I also think that the refugee program as well as the student visa program are some of the highest risks for us to be attacked.”
Following a rant by Mickelson about the Somali-American community in Minnesota, which he deemed a national security risk, Paul agreed that the U.S. needs to reexamine its refugee program.
Mickelson recently promised to ask every 2016 candidate about Muslim refugees in the U.S.