Ben Carson: Syrian refugee camps are ‘really quite nice’

AP

After touring Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson suggested that camps should serve as a long-term solution for millions, while other refugees could be absorbed by Middle Eastern countries.

“I did not detect any great desire for them to come to the United States,” Carson told The Associated Press in a phone interview from Jordan. “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?”

In an interview on CNN after his visit, he added that refugee camps are “really quite nice.” He said while refugees want to return to Syria, “they are satisfied to be in the refugee camps if the refugee camps are adequately funded.”

“Recognize that in these camps they have schools, they have recreational facilities that are really quite nice,” Carson said. 

The retired neurosurgeon toured the Azraq camp in northern Jordan under heavy Jordanian security, with journalists barred. Carson’s campaign also limited access, not providing his itinerary.

After the Azraq visit, Carson said he didn’t learn anything that gives him confidence in authorities’ ability to screen potential terrorists. “What I learned is that you’re going to get a different answer from everybody depending on what their slant is,” he said, reiterating his opposition to allowing any Syrian refugees to come to the United States.