The Statue of Liberty might have had a thing for poor, huddled masses, but she never said anything about food stamps, Kentucky senator Rand Paul informed his colleagues on Wednesday.
“When the poem beneath the Statue of Liberty says ‘give me your tired, give me your poor,’ it didn’t say come to our country and we’ll put you on welfare,” Paul explained from the Senate floor.
The struggling presidential candidate had just introduced an amendment that would end all government assistance to refugees from 34 countries or territories that have “significant jihadist movements.” The list of nations that would be allowed to send their rich refugees to the U.S. includes American allies like Turkey and Jordan.
Hours after recasting the Statue of Liberty as a small-government conservative, Paul turned his scrutiny to the citizens of the country who gifted us that statue.
In an interview with CNN, Paul argued that the U.S. should apply greater screening to all French people who wish to visit our homeland.
“I think our biggest entry for those who would attack us is coming to visit, basically, coming as a refugee or coming as a visitor or coming as a student,” Paul said. “We also have to be concerned about French citizens coming here. Most of the people involved in the attack, I think, are going to turn out to be French citizens … I would stop that. I would say nobody comes unless they’re part of Global Entry.”
Global Entry is a program that fast-tracks international travel for those who have already undergone background checks.
Paul is essentially correct about the Paris attackers — at least six of the men who terrorized the City of Light last week were European nationals. In calling for heightened scrutiny of French citizens, Paul is being more intellectually consistent than his Republican colleagues, who have directed all America’s post-Paris anxieties onto the Syrian refugees.
But intellectual consistency has never polled that well. Nor has the slogan, “I stand with Paris … so long as Parisians promise not to stand too close without a background check.”