The Syrian refugee crisis has initiated a global response; an emergency meeting of The European Union, moves by Arab states to ease Syria’s President Assad out of power and in the United States opening the door to thousands of refugees, some of which are already here. Joining NJTV News anchor Mary Alice Williams in the Agnes Varis Studio is Freshman Republican Congressman Tom MacArthur who spoke about the Iran Nuclear Deal.
He says that while we haven’t played the most helpful role in the crisis up to date, there are things that we can do moving forward. “I was on that board on the Syrian Israel boarder just a few weeks ago and you can see from the Golan Heights going down clearly where a country is torn and dysfunctional and now we have a humanitarian crisis, we have had for a while,” MacArthur said. “We should have been more involved before. I think what we can do now is support those people that are fighting on the right size of this cause and we can carefully try to help the refugees. We’ve got our own border problems here and I think we have to do this very carefully, but there are things that we can do to help them.”
MacArthur expects the issue of accepting Syrian refugees to come before congress at some point. He maintains that the issue is big enough and broad enough. His concern is the ‘who’ that are coming in. “I want to help these people. I think the American people want to help them, but there are a lot of them and we’ve had an issue already with not really knowing who’s coming into our country,” he said. “That worries me and it should worry the American people. We don’t want people coming in when we don’t know who they are and what their intent is.”
He doesn’t think we should close ourselves off from accepting these refugees, but we should be extremely cautious. “There are would be terrorists who would want to slip in among them and find themselves freely in our country to do whatever they want,” MacArthur said. “That to me is our first priority, to make sure the American people are safe. Once we’ve done that then I think we can find ways to help in the humanitarian crisis.”
The congressman voted against the Iran Nuclear deal, calling it a “historic mistake.” “I was in Israel a few weeks ago it is our key ally in that region of the world and, Mary Alice, I think you stick with your friends and you trust people that are closest to a situation and unfortunately the President is doing the opposite,” he said. “He is turning our friend away here, friends really. It’s not just Israel, it’s Saudi Arabia, it’s Jordan and others in the region that are worried about this deal.”
While the deal is likely to pass, even without the approval of Republicans, he says they’re trying to do what’s responsible. “I believe this deal is going to go through anyway. For one, Senate Democrats have been pushing back at even taking a vote, but there are still things that can be done. There are state sanctions by many states and I think those can continue to be upheld,” he said. “I think we have to watch Iran’s behavior very carefully and when they cheat, which unfortunately many of us expect that they will, we have to have the backbone to stand up to them and not let them move closer and closer to a nuclear weapon. And unfortunately that’s about all that’s left for us to do at this point is to try to make sure that they don’t get away with cheating.”