In the Debate Over Syrian Refugees, Ben Carson Warns That the U.S. Must Balance Safety Against ‘Just Being a Humanitarian’

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Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson ignited controversy Thursday when he used an analogy comparing “rabid dogs” to terrorists who infiltrate countries by posing as refugees.

Speaking to the press following a campaign event in Mobile, Ala., Carson said the United States needs to exercise caution when considering whether to move forward with President Barack Obama’s plan to relocate 10,000 Syrians to the U.S.

To do that, Carson said, the U.S. must balance safety against “just being a humanitarian.”

“For instance, you know, if there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you’re probably not going to assume something good about that dog, and you’re probably gonna put your children out of the way,” Carson said. “Doesn’t mean that you hate all dogs by any stretch of the imagination.”

Finishing his analogy, Carson continued, saying that, even though he loves dogs, he would still call the Humane Society with hopes they could “come take this dog away and create a safe environment once again.”

“By the same token,” Carson added, “we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly, who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and destroy us. Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out in the neighborhood knowing that’s going on, it’s foolish for us to accept that.”

Also during his press availability Thursday, the retired neurosurgeon said he believes the Islamic State is stronger and more developed today than Al Qaeda was in both 2001 and 2003.

“Absolutely,” Carson said, when asked if the Islamic State is a bigger threat than Al Qaeda. “[The Islamic State] is so much greater a threat to us than [Al Qaeda] was.”

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