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Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rebuffed a suggestion Wednesday night that refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. undergo a religious test before being granted admission.
Ryan’s remarks came in response to a suggestion from Fox News host Sean Hannity that the U.S. might need to look into limiting the amount of Muslim individuals who are allowed to enter the country.
“We have resettled 1.5 million Muslim migrants in the United States. Senator Sessions put out a piece where all these people we took into this country come here and then get involved in terror activity,” Hannity told Ryan.
“Do we have to think about somebody who grows up under Sharia, believe that women can’t drive, can’t be seen in public without a male relative, four male eyewitnesses for rape — do we have a clash of cultures we have to consider?” he asked. “How do we know if they want to assimilate, how do we know if they want to bring terror into the United States? How do we ascertain that?”
Ryan immediately dismissed the idea.
“Well, first of all, I don’t think a religious test is appropriate. That’s not who we are. We believe in the First Amendment and religious freedom,” the House speaker said.
He added, “And I don’t think it’s an appropriate test because anybody can come under the guise of something else. It’s not hard to for a person to claim that they are something they are not … that is why we are calling for a security test. I think the test that matters is a security test.”
The issue of whether or not to admit refugees fleeing war in Syria has been a hot topic among lawmakers recently. Under Ryan’s leadership, Republicans in Congress have moved to tighten security measures. President Barack Obama has blasted his GOP critics and said Wednesday he would veto the House’s bill if it reached his desk.
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