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Paul Seeks U.S. Visa Moratorium After Paris Attacks

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rand Paul wants a moratorium imposed on the issuance of visas to enter the United States from dozens of countries.  

The Republican presidential candidate from Kentucky said his legislative plan would apply to about 30 countries he said contain “significant Jihadist movements.” He also said there would be a 30-day waiting period for countries under the visa waiver program.  

“I think that the best way to defend the country from attackers — attackers who really don’t have an army but would come here as individuals — is to make sure we try to prevent their access into our country,” Paul said on a conference call with reporters.  

The exception would be for participants in the Global Entry program, Paul explained, conceding that his proposal was dramatic. He pointed to the fact that individuals involved in Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, if French nationals, could travel to the United States without needing a visa.  

On the other end of GOP presidential hopefuls on foreign policy is Sen. Lindsey Graham. He still supports more funding to address the Syrian refugee problem, though he backs a “time out” on admissions to the United States for Syrian refugees until there’s more detail from the Obama administration.  

But the South Carolina Republican, who is particularly relevant to the budget debate as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, has said that the real focus should be on the battle against ISIS, including the ground component that’s long been a feature of his plan.  

“ISIL is not the JV team, but they’re not 10 feet tall,” Graham said in a phone interview, echoing comments he made in more detail Monday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”  

“We need to vet anybody that comes in this country,” Graham said earlier. “But there are many ways to get in this country other than a flow of refugees. Let’s go to the symptom of the problem which is people being raped and murdered, have a safe haven and no fly zone. Shutting down the refugee flow is no substitute for going on offense against ISIL.”

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