Sen. Rand Paul announced Monday that he was introducing legislation calling for an “immediate moratorium” on the United States issuing visas to refugees from about 30 countries with a “significant jihadist movement.”
Paul first announced the legislation during a conference call with a small group of reporters. The announcement comes as a growing list of governors around the country calls to block Syrian refugees from coming to their states in the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris.
“My bill will also stop refugees as well as others from obtaining visas to immigrate, visit or to study in the U.S.,” Paul said on the conference call. The bill would be paid for by “a special tax on arms sales to the more than two dozen countries on the list,” the Kentucky senator added, though his campaign did not immediately release the list.
Paul’s bill would also institute a 30-day waiting period for citizens of so-called visa waiver countries, who are allowed to visit the United States without a visa if they meet certain requirements — to which Paul would add new hurdles.
“This is not something new for me. I introduced many of these same concepts in the battle over the immigration bill and so I think it’s about time. And I think Paris should wake us to the fact that we can’t let just anyone come to this country without background checks,” Paul said.
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Paul said he expected a significant amount of public support for the legislation.
“I think the way to get a vote on this is that I think the American people are going to call for it,” Paul said, adding that the tragedy in Paris had brought visa issues to the American public’s attention. “And so I think there’s a reasonable chance that we will get a vote on something having to do with the screening and or the barring of refugees from coming to this country.”