Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., appearing on talk radio this week to discuss his opposition to resettling Syrian refugees, said the “first thing” that needs to be done is to “get away from” referring to the individuals fleeing Syria as “refugees.”
Perry explained that while “some of them” are leaving a civil war, he would have stayed.
“With all due respect, if there’s a civil war in my country, I stay and fight for my country,” Perry said during a discussion with Clarence M. Mitchell IV, known as “C4,” the host of a program carried by WBAL radio in Baltimore.
“There is absolutely no reason they need to be coming to America,” Perry continued.
Listen to the exchange here:
Who Perry thinks they should fight for is not clear. Does he think they should join the ranks of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad? Or is he referring to any number of Syrian rebel groups, including ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, among others? I sent a request for clarification to Perry’s spokesperson but did not receive any word back.
He presumably is not suggesting that children and the elderly take up weapons. Of the over 4 million Syrian refugees counted by the U.N., 38 percent are under age 11, more than half are under 17, and only 22 percent are men between ages 18 and 59.
Perry currently sits on both the House Homeland Security Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., Perry’s colleague on the Homeland Security Committee, also dismissed the dangers faced by Syrians. In a letter to President Obama this week, Barletta referred to those fleeing Syria as “so-called ‘refugees.'”
Elected officials around the country have used the terrorist attacks in Paris to call for rejecting Syrian refugees. Today, House Republicans plan on bringing a vote on legislation designed to curb refugees entering the United States from Syria.
Top photo: A Syrian man reacts while standing on the rubble of his house while others look for survivors and bodies in the Tariq al-Bab district of the northern city of Aleppo, February 23, 2013.