Sen. Rand Paul thinks that France needs to rethink its immigration policy in light of the recent terror attacks.
The Kentucky Republican said Thursday that intelligence and surveillance tactics should still be employed to prevent terrorism, but argued “there’s some policy changes, though, that could be better.”
“I think also you got to secure your country. That means maybe that every Muslim immigrant that wishes to come to France shouldn’t have an open door to come,” he said on Sean Hannity’s radio show, referring to Islamic radicalization in Europe.
Paul suggested such policy be considered by France and “many of these other countries that had old colonies in predominantly Muslim areas.”
But the two suspects in the Charlie Hebdo shooting – Cherif Kouachi and Said Kouachi – are French citizens who were known to the country’s security services, according to officials.
Waves of Muslim immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa flocked to France in the 1960s after a wave of decolonization and a liberalization of France’s immigration policies in the 1980s gave way to a new wave of Muslim immigrants from the region.
Today, most of France’s Muslim population are French nationals. And higher birth rates among Muslim immigrants are largely responsible for the growth in the country’s Muslim population. That growth – mirrored not just in France but across Europe – coupled with a struggling economy, has contributed to the growth of far right parties, fueled by anti-immigrant sentiment.
Paul, a potential presidential contender, argued that “it’s also my concern here,” saying the U.S. border “is a danger to attack” and criticizing what he described as a poorly monitored student visa program.
“So there are a lot of lessons here that we need to continue to learn,” he continued.
Hannity listed a few examples of Western media outlets calling for tolerance of Islam for the attacks or cautioning against xenophobic reactions, Paul said: “I think they must be totally deaf and dumb.”
“I haven’t seen any Christians and Jews dragging people of the Islamic faith through the streets. But I am seeing the opposite. I’m seeing Christians beheaded. I’m seeing people who say anything about Islam being shot unarmed,” Paul said. “Should the rules always protect everyone’s rights? Yeah, but I’m not too worried right now that we’ve infringed on their rights. I’m worried that Christians and Jews are being killed around the world.”