U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz appears to be trying to beat Donald Trump at his own game. Amid growing anti-Muslim rhetoric from Trump and other Republican presidential candidates, Cruz introduced his new far-right position on Syrian refugees already in the U.S.: Send them home.
After two terror suspects with links to the Islamic State group were arrested in California and Texas this week, Cruz said Thursday the Obama administration should suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees and other terrorist-controlled territories and undertake a retroactive assessment of all refugees who have arrived from those “high-risk countries.” He also blamed Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state, for the alleged Syrian refugee threat, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The arrests “underscore the profound danger that is facing this country from radical Islamic terrorism. And these arrests underscore how utterly indefensible President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s proposal is to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into the country," Cruz said.
Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, 24, an Iraqi who came to the United States as a refugee in November 2009, was arrested Thursday by federal agents in Houston. Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, another Iraqi refugee, was arrested in Sacramento, California. Both were allegedly involved in a terror plot.
Cruz's latest anti-refugee campaign pitch came during a town hall meeting in Goldfield, Iowa, which will hold the nation's first nominating contest in February. “We need to see a systematic and careful retroactive assessment of refugees brought from high risk counties to examine the public records, to examine all the evidence that might indicate whether these individuals have ties to radical Islamic terrorists,” Cruz said. “What communications, what statements have they made, what actions have they taken?”
Trump, who has called for a travel ban for Muslims, has been leading in the polls for months. Most recently, he was leading in New Hampshire, which holds the nation's first primary next month, by 14 points. Trump had 29 percent support, while Cruz had 10 percent support. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was in second place with 15 percent support.