Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson got a firsthand look at Syrian-refugee camps in Jordan and concluded on Saturday that conditions are adequate, the Associated Press reports.
He suggested that the camps should be a long-term solution for the crisis and called on neighboring Middle Eastern countries to take in the overflow of migrants.
“I did not detect any great desire for them to come to the United States,” Carson told AP.
The retired neurosurgeon added: “You’ve got these refugee camps that aren’t completely full. And all you need is the resources to be able to run them. Why do you need to create something else?”
Several GOP presidential candidates rebuked President Barack Obama for his plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. Several governors have also expressed concern that extremists among them could slip into the U.S.
After his refugee-camp tour, Carson said he still has no confidence in the screening process to identify potential terrorists.
While the camps are adequate, Carson said the conditions could be improved. To that end, he’s urging Americans to start a “humanitarian drive” to raise the money needed to upgrade camps across the Middle East. These funds should not come from the U.S. government, Carson underscored.
Carson wants a balance between humanitarianism and safety at home. But many say he crossed a line by comparing Syrian migrants to “rabid dogs” during a recent campaign stop in Mobile, Ala.
He also called on Syria’s neighbors to accept more migrants. Several countries in the region have kept their doors shut to the refugees. Meanwhile, a handful of other nations in the Middle East are struggling to absorb the vast majority of Syrians fleeing the civil war and Islamic extremists.