Politics & Policy

Cruz Rejects Trump’s Muslim Immigration Ban

(Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty)

Senator Ted Cruz has unveiled a bill to allow governors to bar the placement of Syrian refugees in their states, citing the difficulty that the Department of Homeland Security faces in attempting to vet the refugees for potential terrorist ties.

Cruz introduced the State Refugee Security Act alongside his former boss, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, who said that his office reached out to the freshman senator about the proposal last week. The bill would give governors total discretion to bar refugees from their states by concluding that the Office of Refugee Resettlement had failed to “to provide adequate assurance” that a given refugee was not a security threat.

“Some 30 governors across the country have stood together following the lead of Governor Abbott, standing together as one saying their obligation is to protect the safety and security of the citizens of Texas and the citizens of each of the states that have elected those governors,” Cruz said during a press conference with Abbott on Tuesday. “Those officials are doing their jobs. They’re honoring their commitments to the men and women who have elected them. We need a president who will do the same.”

The move marks Cruz’s foray into a debate between 30 governors who tried to opt out of the Syrian refugee program and President Obama’s administration, which responded by threatening to withhold federal funding from the governors’ states. It comes just as 21 Syrian refugees arriving in Texas, and it’s part of the senator’s three-prong antidote — along with previous legislation to strip Americans who join terrorist groups of their U.S. citizenship and to block refugees who hail from countries that have a significant terrorist presence — to what he calls Obama’s “politically correct blindness.”

“When you have President Obama telling the nation that the Islamic State isn’t Islamic, that’s just nutty,” he told reporters. “That’s not reasoned, interesting foreign-policy debate, that is nutty. They are explicitly an Islamic caliphate. [And] they have stated their intention to wage jihad and forcibly convert or murder anyone they regard as infidels, which is most of the world.”

#share#At the same time, Cruz broke ever-so-gently with rival Donald Trump’s more radical call for a temporary ban on all migration from Muslim countries, saying he disagreed with the idea but refusing to comment on its constitutionality. “I am focused on my policies and the solutions that I am proposing to the real problems in this country,” he said. “Certainly, in the media, there has been no shortage of criticism of Donald Trump and I do not believe the world needs my voice added to that chorus of critics.”

#related#Abbott, playing the role of good soldier, then interjected to boost Cruz’s proposals. “The Constitution mandates that the federal government of the United States must protect our citizens from enemies both foreign and domestic,” Abbott said. “The fact is, we have an enemy here and that is radical Islamic terrorism and that’s precisely what Senator Cruz is trying to address.”

Cruz promised to use “every legislative tool” available to push his national-security bills, but he didn’t explicitly vow to stage a filibuster or provoke a government shutdown next week if his bill is not included in the omnibus government-funding package. “I will continue to press using the procedural tools that are available to a senator,” he said.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

Most Popular

Sports

It’s Time for Colin Kaepernick to Move On

Colin Kaepernick. Remember him? Below-average quarterback. Above-average poseur. Not “activist,” not really. Activists actually say stuff. Kaepernick almost never says anything. He’s like the Queen or most popes — you have to read the deep-background musings of supposed members of his inner circle to get ... Read More
Elections

Trump and the Black Vote

"Donald Trump is a racist, white supremacist, white nationalist. So are his supporters." Some version of that refrain is heard almost hourly somewhere in mainstream media. Democratic politicians seem to proclaim it more often than that. Listening only to the Left, you'd conclude that more than half a ... Read More
U.S.

The Age of Miscalculation

On August 7, 1998, more than 200 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Americans learned three names most of them never had heard before: Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden, and al-Qaeda. On August 20, 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered a ... Read More
Sports

Jay-Z Joins the Ranks of the Insufficiently Woke

Rapper and mogul Jay-Z announced his company’s new partnership with the National Football League and has made much of the social-justice Left furious: I think that we forget that Colin [Kaepernick]’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So, in that case, this is a success; this is ... Read More