National Security

Cardin: U.S. Can Do a ‘More Thorough Job’ Vetting Immigrants

Sen. Ben Cardin (D., Md.) said Monday that the United States can do a "more thorough job" of vetting immigrants coming into the country to ensure the safety of the American people.

"We can do always do a more thorough job of vetting those who come to this country," Cardin told CNN host Alisyn Camerota.

The Maryland Democrat appeared on CNN's "New Day" and criticized President Donald Trump's proposed travel ban while conceding that the current system of vetting immigrants may be inadequate.

Camerota asked Cardin about a series of tweets that Trump sent out early Monday morning in which the president reiterated his support for his "travel ban," which temporarily restricts immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries over terrorism concerns.

Trump promised that while the ban makes its way through the federal court system, his administration will continue to practice "extreme vetting" of those coming to the U.S. "in order to help keep our country safe."

"Do you think the vetting is successful enough here in the U.S.?" Camerota asked Cardin. She pointed out that while some studies suggest refugees are less likely to commit crimes than the American population, there remains "a feeling more can be done" in the wake of terror attacks like the one perpetrated in the 2015 San Bernardino attack.

"That is very clear," Cardin said, agreeing that more could be done to guard against terrorists disguised as refugees.

"If you look at the refugee population, they are less likely to commit terrorist activities than the general population," he said. "Does that mean we can't do a better job of vetting? No. We can do always do a more thorough job of vetting those who come to the country."

"But we also have to rely on intelligence information," the senator continued. "We need to deal with people in our community; we need to have a comprehensive plan to keep Americans safe against terrorist activities."

Cardin then argued that, while better vetting is necessary, Trump's proposed travel ban will not make the country safer.

"But to say that let's block refugees from coming into the country or visitors from coming in here, that will not make America safer, and it's really not targeting at the real problem," he said.