“I’m putting people on notice that are coming here from Syria as part of this mass migration, that if I win, they’re going back,” Trump, 69, told a room full of supporters in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
“They could be ISIS,” he said. “This could be one of the great tactical ploys of all time. A 200,000-man army maybe, or if you said 50,000 or 80,000 or 100,000, we got problems and that could be possible. I don’t know that it is, but it could be possible so they’re going back – they’re going back.”
At least four million refugees have fled a four-year civil war in Syria, according to NBC News. This year alone, more than 3,700 people have died in efforts to flee the violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan and make a safe passage to the European Union.
Last month, images of a dead 3-year-old Syrian refugee boy who washed ashore in Turkey horrified the world. Shortly after the boy’s body was discovered, several European countries and the United States announced they would welcome refugees.
The United States has committed to accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees next year. That figure is expected to rise. On Sunday, the Obama administration said the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world in 2016 and the number will increase to 100,000 in 2017, according to the Associated Press.
Trump’s remarks on refugees this week are at odds with his statements about the refugee crisis. Speaking to Fox News in September, Trump said the migrant crisis was getting “worse and worse” and it was a “serious problem.”
And when asked if he would welcome refugees Trump said: “I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to.”
“It’s living in hell in Syria. They are living in hell,” he added.