Politics

Ben Carson: 'Syria's Neighbors' Should Take In Refugees, Not United States

Ben Carson speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland

Ben Carson is holding firm to his statements that, instead of the United States, neighboring Arab countries such as the "rich Persian Gulf states" should welcome all Syrian refugees.

In a Dec. 1 op-ed article that the GOP presidential candidate wrote for the Hill, Carson described a recent visit to refugee camps in Jordan and concluded that more United Nations funding for neighboring countries to host Syrian refugees would allow the U.S. to avoid having to take any in.

"The media has focused on Europe and the United States’s willingness or unwillingness to welcome these refugees," Carson wrote in the Hill article. "This focus is all wrong. The solution to the Syrian refugee crisis is with Syria’s neighbors."

He wrote that most Syrian refugees are ending up in Turkey or Jordan,  where they do not have enough money to pay for food and other basic expenses. Since they cannot work, they quickly deplete their savings and often end up back in refugee camps that do not have enough basic comforts to protect them from harsh weather.

"Despite the fact that refugees are in host countries that share their language, culture, ethnicity and religion, they are not helped to integrate into those countries, or into the many neighboring Arab, Muslim countries," the former neurosurgeon explained. "Many refugees are educated professionals; many have other skills and occupations. But they are not allowed to work, and their children do not attend schools."

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates -- the "rich Persian Gulf states" -- have more resources, fewer language barriers and "no religious or cultural gaps to overcome" when compared to other parts of the world, Carson wrote. He urged the United Nations to follow his "forward-thinking and wise strategy" to help those countries accommodate refugees.

On a Dec. 1 "Today" interview, Carson said that the U.S. should support countries like Jordan who want to help, though he stood by earlier statements that Syrian refugees in the U.S. are dangerous.

He described the Jordan refugee camps "really quite nice" and suggested that they simply lack resources at the moment.

"Why don't we take advantage of things that are already in place, before we start trying to come up with other things," he said

Sources: the Hill, Today / Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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