Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump isn’t pulling any punches on his view of the Syrian migrant crisis and the United States’ role in it. Trump said Wednesday that, if he’s elected president, he would send back every single Syrian refugee taken in by the U.S. because they may be Islamic State militants in disguise.
“I’m putting the people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration,” Trump said during an evening rally in Keene, New Hampshire. “If I win, they’re going back.”
The billionaire businessman, who is leading early opinion polls, said during an hour-long speech that he was worried the refugees, who have been fleeing their country after years of civil war, could be Islamic State militants looking to get into the US.
“They could be ISIS, I don’t know,” said Trump, who questioned both the number of men in their ranks and why Syrians were fleeing their country instead of staying and fighting.
“This could be one of the great tactical ploys of all time. A 200,000-man army, maybe,” he later added. “That could be possible.”
Secretary of State John Kerry announced earlier this month that the U.S. would significantly increase the number of migrants it takes in over the next two years, with 85,000 refugees from around the world allowed in next year and up to 100,000 in 2017.
Trump is not the first lawmaker to raise alarms about the potential of the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations using the refugee crisis to try to enter the United States or Europe. Some intelligence officials and Republican lawmakers have expressed similar concerns.
Trump went on to say that President Barack Obama “looked like the JV” in his dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the United Nations General Assembly this week.
Many have blamed Obama’s poor handling of the Syrian civil war crisis and the growing ISIS threat for the growing migrant problems.
The Associated Press contributed to this report