WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The Obama administration should reconsider plans to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the Unites States after at least 127 people died in Paris in gun and bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State, two Republican candidates said on Saturday.
"President Obama and Hillary Clinton's idea that we should bring tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to America, it is nothing less than lunacy,” Senator Ted Cruz said in an interview on Fox News.
“Now on the other hand, Christians who are being targeted for genocide, for persecution, Christians who are being beheaded or crucified, we should be providing safe haven to them," Cruz added.
Islamic State claimed responsibility on Saturday for the Paris attacks, saying it sent militants strapped with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of the capital.
The White House announced plans in September to increase to 10,000 the number of Syrian refugees accepted in the United States during fiscal year 2016, which began Oct. 1, up from the less than 2,000 accepted last year.
Globally, the United States will accept 85,000 refugees in 2016, and 100,000 in 2017, up from 70,000 in each of the previous two years, Robert Jenkins, a U.S. AID official, told a Washington forum on Friday.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said Syrian refugees should be provided a safe haven, but it does not have to be in the United States.
"We need to have a better process,” Huckabee said on CNN. “We don't just have open borders like they do in Europe,” he added.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by Warren Strobel; Editing by James Dalgleish)