Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said that he will push for a ban against Syrian Muslims entering the United States, citing the Obama administration and intelligence agencies inability to identify refugees from terrorists.
"We should not be allowing Muslim refugees from countries where ISIS and al Qaeda have control of significant amounts of territory because of the inability of this administration, the inability of our intelligence sources to distinguish between who is and is not an ISIS terrorist," Cruz told Jon Karl of ABC News.
President Obama vowed during the G20 Summit in Turkey Monday that there will be no religious test for refugees affected by the Islamic State, adding such a "test" would be "un-American" and "shameful."
Obama continued to poke Republicans in opposition to his refugee policy while in Manilla, Philippines, Wednesday, saying, "At first they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans."
Wednesday Cruz told Obama that he needs to come back to the U.S. "and insult me to my face."
"If you want to insult me, you can do it overseas, you can do it in Turkey, you can do it in foreign countries. But I would encourage you, Mr. President, come back and insult me to my face," Cruz stated.
"It's easy to toss a cheap insult when no one can respond," the Texas Senator added.
Cruz, who called the president's remarks unfitting for a president, challenged Obama to a debate "on any station."
Republican rhetoric in opposition to Syrian refugees has been fueled by national security concerns after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed over 150 people.
On Monday, New Jersey Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie said even orphans under the age of five should not be admitted, citing distrust of the Obama Administration's vetting process of the refugees.
However, some Democrat governors and lawmakers on Capitol Hill are now joining with Republicans to consider changes to the current refugee policy. New York Senator Charles Schumer and California Senator Diane Feinstein noted that there are problems with the vetting process, and they are at least considering "a pause" in the flow of refugees.
According to The Hill, FBI Director James Comey admitted before Washington lawmakers in October that there are gaps in security for refugees who are admitted into the United States.
"There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that," said Comey.
"There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise and there are deficits that we face."
Reuters reported Wednesday that security officials in Honduras arrested five Syrian nationals who were trying to make their way to the United States with stolen Greek passports.
The Obama Administration plans to allow 85,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.
In the ABC interview, Jon Karl pressed Cruz on his insistence that Christians have priority over Muslims as refugees.
Cruz stated that Muslims are "not facing genocide the way Christians are."
"And beyond that, there's no credible threat that Christians fleeing Middle East violence are likely to carry out acts of terrorism," Cruz declared.