Jeb Bush Says He Wouldn’t Ban Syrian Refugees

Republican Candidates Speak At Sunshine Summit In Orlando
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jeb Bush may be low-energy, but when it comes to Syrian refugees, he isn’t low-empathy. Unlike nearly all of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Bush said Tuesday that he would not support efforts to end refugee resettlement.

The answer to this is not to ban people from coming,” Bush told Bloomberg Television’s With All Due Respect. “The answer is to lead, to resolve the problem in Syria.”

Bush emphasized that he wanted any refugees resettled in the United States to be rigorously vetted — which is already standard policy in the States — but said support for refugees was “a noble tradition in our country for many years” and should not be eliminated.

On Sunday, the presidential candidate said that aid to refugees should be focused on persecuted Christians. He clarified his position in the Bloomberg TV interview. “There’s no discrimination to simply say that you want to protect religious minorities that are being exterminated,” he said.

But discriminating against non-Christian refugees is a very popular position among Bush’s rivals. On Tuesday, Ohio governor John Kasich joined a long list of Republican governors hoping that Obama will revise the inscription on the Statue of Liberty to read “Don’t give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of secret ISIS fighters.”

Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are both pushing legislation to suspend the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States. Carly Fiorina, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Rick Santorum have all shouted their support for similar measures from the political sidelines. New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced Monday that he would not even allow Syrian “orphans under 5 [years old]” into America.

Bush’s brave stance against his party’s more xenophobic tendencies should give him a boost in the polls” … is a sentence that only a political analyst who just woke up from a long coma could write.

Jeb Bush Wouldn’t Ban Syrian Refugees