Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks said the U.S. should stop providing a "paid vacation" for Syrian refugees who flee to America.
“I’m one of these folks that think we need to stop paying these folks to come here. And we’re paying them about $15,000 a year in free health care, free food, free shelter, free clothing, free transportation,” Brooks said on an Alabama radio station. “You know, just go down the litany of wealth-transfer programs that these people are entitled to, and that answers very quickly why so many of them want to come to the United States of America. We’re paying them to come here. Paid vacation.”
The congressman further criticized the Obama administration, saying it prioritizes refugees at the expense of American families “who are working for a living, but don’t make enough money, and we have to raise taxes."
“We need to quit paying these folks to come here ... it weakens our ability to help Americans,” he added.
Brooks' remarks came a day after the Republican-led House of Representatives, with support from some Democrats, passed a bill that would make it more difficult for Syrian refugees to enter the country, despite a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The legislation was introduced after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris last week that killed at least 130 people.
As for the bill that would restrict Syrian refugees who were seeking legal entry into the U.S., Brooks said it was “fairly weak." Brooks voted to support the bill.
“It doesn't do damage, but it doesn't do as much good needed to achieve the purpose that people think it’s going to achieve,” he said. “We have terrorists who can come in from a number of Middle Eastern countries claiming refugee status. We’re nowhere close to protect Americans from terrorists.”
Brooks said that there is a "large segment of the Muslim population" who are not terrorists, but "support what these terrorists are doing."