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Fact-checking Jeb Bush's claims about religion and refugees

The probability that terrorists would try to take advantage of the refugee wave landing in Europe has led many Republicans and some Democrats to call for tighter policies here at home.

Republican candidate Jeb Bush has rejected one of the more hard-line proposals that would ban all Syrian Muslim refugees from entering the United States. But Bush has said that America ought to give priority to Christians fleeing the ravages of religious militants under the command of the Islamic State.

Asked on CBS News’ Face the Nation if a Christian preference wouldn’t play into the ISIL narrative that their war was a struggle between Islam and Christianity, Bush said this wouldn’t represent any real change.

"It is already in the law that there is a requirement to screen for religion," Bush said Nov. 29, 2015. "This is the practice of our country. There was a bipartisan bill that of course didn't pass in Congress this year to provide preference for Christians who are being slaughtered in the Middle East, persecuted based on their faith. Religious minorities, I think, should have some preference."

PolitiFact decided to look at whether American officials are legally bound to ask refugees about their religion.

PolitiFact also looked at Bush's claim that there are "ample means" to "tell when someone is a Christian in the Middle East ... by name, by where they’re born, their birth certificates." See how PolitiFact rated that claim.

(Both fact-checks were written by Jon Greenberg.)

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