Rand Paul: Pause on French citizens, too

Story highlights

  • The Kentucky Republican said it's "absurd" for President Barack Obama to say refugees don't post a risk
  • The presidential candidate said that the U.S. is vulnerable to terrorists coming into the country in a variety of ways

Washington (CNN)Sen. Rand Paul isn't just for blocking Syrian refugees from entering the country on security concerns -- he says the U.S. should apply more screening to all French citizens, students and visitors.

The presidential candidate told Fox News' Jenna Lee on Wednesday that the U.S. is vulnerable to terrorists coming into the country in a variety of ways, not just as refugees, and that the nation should respond.
"I think our biggest entry for those who would attack us is coming to visit, basically, coming as a refugee or coming as a visitor or coming as a student," Paul said, saying the U.S. welcomes 150,000 students from the Middle East per year. "We also have to be concerned about French citizens coming here. Most of the people involved in the attack, I think, are going to turn out to be French citizens. ... I would stop that. I would say nobody comes unless they're part of Global Entry."
    Global Entry is a program that fast-tracks international access for travelers who have already gone through a background check and screening.
    The Kentucky Republican, whose foreign policy views tend be much more isolationist than other candidates, said it's "absurd" for President Barack Obama to say refugees don't pose a risk when there are examples of refugees being involved in terrorism. He specifically cited a case from his home state where two Iraqi refugees were prosecuted for supporting terror overseas, and the brothers behind the Boston Marathon bombing were also granted asylum status in the U.S.
    "I'm not too interested in being lectured to by the President," Paul said. "The first we thing to do to protect our homeland and our people is we should be very, very cautious about those who come here to visit, study or those who want to emigrate here."