Graham calls for ‘timeout’ on accepting Syrian refugees

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is calling for a “timeout” on accepting new Syrian refugees into the United States in the wake of terrorist attacks in Paris late last week.

“The one thing I’ve learned from Paris is that we need to have a timeout on bringing refugees into this country until we have a system that we think will work. So I’m calling for a timeout on Syrian refugees,” he said Monday during an interview with Fox News Radio.

He added that getting refugee status is one of “20 ways that people can get into the country.”

{mosads}The 2016 contender’s remarks are a marked shift from earlier this year when he called on the United States to accept its “fair share” of Syrian refugees in the wake of the country’s growing humanitarian crisis.

“You have the refugee organizations that are overwhelmed, I think it’s in our national security interests to try to get ahead of this problem,” Graham, who is running for president, said in September.

Separately he worked with Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to introduce legislation that would give the administration an extra $1 billion in emergency funding to help bolster its ability to address the refugee crisis.

Graham’s remarks on Monday come as a growing number of Republicans–including his 2016 presidential competitors—are voicing skepticism that the administration can increase the number of refugees accepted into the United States every year while also protecting national security.

The fresh wave of concern comes after Friday’s attack in Paris, which appears to have been carried out by at least one individual who came to France while posing as a refugee. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for those attacks, and is threatening another attack against Washington, D.C.

Graham added on Monday that the administration needs to go “on offense” against the terrorist group.

“I want an away game when it comes to ISIL, not a home game,” he said, using an alternate acronym for the group. 

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