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Interviews

Jim Gilmore on challenges of accepting Syrian refugees

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," September 11, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, with us right now, former Governor Jim Gilmore. Of course, he's running for president of the United States.

Fourteen years ago, he was the governor of the fine state of Virginia.

So, obviously, this day is very significant you, as we take a look at the Pentagon and services that were held there earlier today.

And, Governor, I think of incidents like this where we're trying to police who comes in and who doesn't. All of the people behind those 9/11 attacks were doing everything by the books. They were here legally. A couple of them had expired visas and the like. But the fact of the matter is, they came in and followed all the rules.

JAMES GILMORE, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I was the governor during the 9/11 attack and I had to deal with that challenge. I had to make sure the state was working with the local responders.

I had actually been chairman of the Terrorism Commission for five years, Neil. And, you know, yes, it was a terrible tragedy and it's something we ought to remember, and we should begin to be prepared for the challenges that are going to come in the future also, because there are going to be challenges.

CAVUTO: Well, but on the issue of whether this latest influx of immigrants from Syria, the president is going to take 10,000. Could be more. But, as you know, Governor, there are millions.

Do we have mechanisms in place better than they were back at the time of 9/11 to know who is coming in? Because I have seen little proof of that with all the illegal immigration problems since.

GILMORE: You know, Neil, we do have procedures in place that are better to protect the people of the United States against terrorist attack, but I'm not aware that you can just simply take anybody into this country indiscriminately, on the basis that we're a nation of immigrants and then keep the American people completely safe.

So, what I have urged is, number one, that we have a new foreign policy that actually begins to bring more stability into these unstable areas, so you don't end up with this refugee crisis to begin with.

And I think the second question that I would ask the American people is this. We have our own problems here. We have people who were born here, raised here, who are having trouble getting jobs, who are having trouble making it in life.

What, are we going to bring these folks in, put them on the welfare state and reduce the benefits that are already here for other people? Are we going to try to get them jobs? We can't get our own people jobs. So, I think that we have got to address all of these problems in a big-picture way.

And if I were president of the United States, I would be trying to look at the big picture.

CAVUTO: Well, both parties are failing at that, I think it's safe to say.

GILMORE: I will say that.

CAVUTO: Yes.

Governor, thank you very, very much. All right.

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