House Speaker Paul Ryan is ruling out making any cuts to Muslim immigration. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News, Ryan declared that considering an applicant’s religion would not be “appropriate” and would be fundamentally un-American— insisting “that’s not who we are.”
In his questioning of Ryan, Hannity cited populist thought leader Jeff Sessions, who chairs the Senate Immigration Subcommittee and whose office has put out a series of analyses in recent months detailing the enormous scope of immigration into the United States in general, as well as the vast scope Muslim immigration in particular.
Since 9/11, the U.S. has accepted more than 2 million immigrants, refugees and asylees from predominantly Muslim nations. Sessions has repeatedly called on Congress to reduce the number of green cards issued, including in an op-ed last week one day prior to the Paris attack.
“Eighty-three percent of voters want to see projected immigration growth reduced — which means Congress must take up and pass a bill to reduce the number of visas handed out each year,” Sessions wrote. “Congress should immediately begin to move popular immigration reforms that would be backed by overwhelming majorities of voters, including… blocking the president from using federal funds to unilaterally expand the costly refugee resettlement program.”
In his question, Hannity asked Ryan point blank about some of Sessions’ recent analysis. Hannity said:
We have resettled 1.5 million Muslim migrants in the United States. Senator Sessions had put out a piece where all these people that we took in to the country then come here and then get involved in terror activity. I put it up on my website, I urge you to take a look at it. And we take in 100,000 Muslim immigrants into the United States every year. Do we have to think about somebody who grows up under Sharia— believes that women can’t drive, can’t be seen in public without a male relative, four eyewitnesses for rape— do we have a clash of cultures we’ve got to consider? How do we know if they want to assimilate? How do we know if they want to bring terror into the United States? How will we ascertain that?
Well, first of all, I don’t think a religious test is appropriate. That’s not who we are. We believe in the first amendment of religious freedom. And I don’t think it’s the appropriate test because anybody can come under the guise of something else. It’s not hard for a person to claim that they are something that they’re not— like a Christian or something like that to get into the country. That is why we are calling for a security test. I think the test that maters is a security test because anybody can try and infiltrate this country by posing as something that they are not, so I don’t think that’s the proper test. I think a security test is the proper test.
Ryan’s view stands opposed to that of his Congressional colleagues Sen. Rand Paul, Reps. Cynthia Lummis, Brian Babin, Dave Brat, Randy Weber and Steve King, who—as Breitbart News recently reported—have all expressed support for a reduction or suspension of visa issuances to Muslim countries with jihadist movements.
By declaring that it would not be “proper” or “appropriate” for the United States to consider the religion of a visa applicant— or whether the applicant supports Sharia law or Muslim theocracy— Ryan is effectively suggesting that the United States should not be allowed to select whom we admit based on likelihood of assimilation.
This view is consistent with Ryan’s two decade long history of pushing open borders immigration policies. As NumbersUSA President Roy Beck has said, “[Ryan] has spent his entire adulthood ideologically connected to the open borders crowd. Open Borders is in his ideological DNA… Open borders seeps out of every pore of his being… It’s just who he is.”
In 2013, Ryan insisted that it is the job of a U.S. lawmaker to put oneself in the shoes of a foreign national—who does not live in the United States, but would like to come here— and then work to find solutions to improve the life of that foreign citizen:
Put yourself in another person’s shoes, which if you’re in elected office, that’s what you kind of have to do that almost every single day. The job we have– and what we do is we take different people’s perspectives. The gentleman from India who’s waiting for his green card… We take all these different perspectives. We process it through our values and our morals and our principles. And then we come up with the answer to try and solve this problem. That’s basically what we do in our jobs.
Indeed, Ryan was instrumental in defeating an effort to cut visa issuances during the mid-90s, thus derailing the effort to codify into law Civil Rights leader Barbara Jordan’s plan for substantial immigration cuts in order to protect the American worker. As Game Change author John Heilemann wrote in 1996, “[Ryan’s] ties to the pro-immigration mafia ran deep.”
Hannity pressed Ryan specifically about the House’s legislation that will allow Obama to continue the Syrian refugee resettlement plan, which is opposed by a majority of all voters. Hannity asked Ryan about Babin’s amendment, which as Breitbart News reported, was “blocked [tonight] by House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions (R-TX) – that would have placed a six-month moratorium on allowing refugees into the United States.”
Are you including the Babin amendment, which would put a pause for six months on it, or are you not including that part [to the House’s legislation]?
This would put a pause, I believe, for longer than that. This effectively puts a pause on the program and it will take longer than six months, I believe, to put these kind of security…
However, Sen. Sessions specifically debunked this claim in a statement released earlier on Wednesday. Sessions explained that Ryan’s plan—far from blocking Obama’s refugee resettlement project—would allow for unlimited immigration and does nothing to strengthen the security of the American people: