In the wake of the deadly attacks last week in Paris, Sen. Rand Paul plans to introduce legislation that “would suspend visa issuance for countries with a high risk of terrorism.”
Paul’s intentions, announced Monday, join a chorus of Republicans seeking to take steps following the Paris attacks. About a dozen Republican governors — including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — have also announced they intend to block the intake of refugees from countries dealing with ISIS and other terrorist groups.
In September, Secretary of State John Kerry promised that the U.S. would take in 100,000 refugees from the war-ravaged Syria by 2017.
Paul’s proposed legislation would also “impose a waiting period for background checks on visa issuance from other countries until the American people can be assured terrorists cannot enter the country through our immigration and visa system,” according to a statement from his office released Monday.
“The time has come to stop terrorists from walking in our front door,” Paul said in a statement. “The Boston Marathon bombers were refugees, and numerous refugees from Iraq, including some living in my hometown, have attempted to commit terrorist attacks.
“The terrorist attacks in Paris underscore this concern that I have been working to address for the past several years. My bill will press pause on new refugee entrants from high-risk countries until stringent new screening procedures are in place.”
Paul, who is also seeking the Republican presidential nomination, said he introduced similar legislation in 2013 when the U.S. Senate was weighing a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Time reports that during a recent presidential forum in Orlando, Paul said Sen. Marco Rubio’s “opposition to one of his amendments to the 2013 Gang of Eight immigration bill, which would have enhanced screening requirements for those entering the country, damaged national security.” Rubio is also a Republican candidate for president.
“Two, three years ago, I introduced a bill, or an amendment, to the immigration bill that would have provided for more scrutiny of people coming into our country: refugees, immigrants, students,” Paul said, when asked about his response to Friday’s attacks. “They would have had background checks and they would have had a much higher degree of scrutiny. And the point I made in my speech was, I introduced this to Rubio and (Democratic Sen. Chuck) Schumer’s immigration bill and then Rubio and Schumer and all of the authors voted against any conservative amendments. And I think that was a mistake, not only for the bill, but also for our national security.”