GOP Primary Candidates Pledge to Block Muslim Migration Amid Terrorism Concerns

Islamic extremism is a hot campaign issue once again.

Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: As the Israel-Hamas war plays out, several Republican presidential candidates say the U.S. should not take in migrants from regions with ties to Islamic terrorism.

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis began the conversation Saturday by arguing that “the U.S. should not be absorbing any” Gazan refugees because their “toxic” culture “would increase antisemitism” and “anti-Americanism.”

  • Former President Donald Trumprepeated his campaign promise to block migration from “terror-plagued” regions by bringing back a travel ban from his presidency and adding more countries. Trump’s campaign says he would also deport immigrants with “jihadist sympathies” and have all immigrants undergo “ideological screening.”

  • Other candidates: Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy all agreed the U.S. should reject Palestinian refugees.

Why it matters: Islamic radicalism has become part of the national conversation once again after Hamas’s historic attack on Israeli civilians this month — and the large gatherings of Palestinian sympathizers celebrating in U.S. cities. This adds to the GOP’s existing concerns about illegal migration as border agents increasingly encounter migrants on the terror watchlist, including from Iran, which backs Hamas.

  • No help: The U.S. has accepted hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees in the past few years, while Arab countries refuse to accept Gazans fleeing the war.

Zoom out: Cultural tensions are rising across the West. Women in hijabs were seen in London tearing down photos of missing Israeli children believed to be captives of Hamas. In France, a migrant allegedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” before going on a fatal stabbing spree.

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