“And they cannot continue that without help from the international community," he added.
The retired neurosurgeon’s surprise visit to the Middle Eastern country this weekend came amid intense scrutiny over his grasp of foreign policy issues, which have gained more urgency among voters since the attacks in Paris earlier this month. Carson has seen his standing in polls fall sharply since the attacks, with many critics suggesting that he is not ready for the presidency.
Carson visited two camps while in Jordan, a short “fact-finding” trip seemingly intended to help him establish credibility on an issue that has deeply divided Americans. His campaign did not alert reporters about the visit in advance and did not grant media outlets any access. The campaign released a statement after the visit, along with pictures of Carson meeting with refugees and relief workers.
Carson repeatedly stated during interviews on four Sunday talk shows that the refugees with whom he met said the U.S. government can best help by supporting the Jordanian government in maintaining and improving the camps. He added that other countries in the region also should be asked to step in and accept a greater number of refugees, which would keep them near their home country.
"I had an opportunity to talk with many of the Syrians, and that was very eye-opening, asking them what is their desire," Carson said on CBS's "Face the Nation.” “And their main desire is to be repatriated in their homeland."
Carson added that Jordan could take more refugees, provided the international community gives an additional $3 billion in funding. He suggested that countries have wasted time debating the merits of admitting refugees instead of discussing how to provide additional support for existing refugee facilities.
"They are satisfied to be in the refugee camps if the refugee camps are adequately funded. Recognize that in these camps they have schools, they have recreational facilities that are really quite nice," Carson said on CNN's "State of the Union."
"And they're putting in all kind of things that make life more tolerable. Would it be better to integrate them into society? Yes, and I’ve certainly talked to some people about that. But you have to make progress as you go."
Carson faced heavy criticism this month after he made a comment about Syrian refugees, saying the United States’ screening mechanisms had to be thorough enough to sort out “rabid dogs” among the refugees.
Asked about those comments on Sunday, Carson said the refugees with whom he spoke did not take offense.
“Well, you know, here's the interesting thing, Chuck. The Syrians and the people here completely understood what I was saying. It's only the news media in our country that thinks that you're calling Syrians dogs,” Carson told "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd. “They understand here that we're talking about the jihadists, the Islamic terrorists. And it's very obvious to most of them.”
He added: “The reception is quite warm. So, maybe they can teach us a little bit about how to interpret language.”
During a geopolitical discussion with Todd, Carson pivoted away from a question on Turkey's role in the fight against the Islamic State militant group. Some have accused Turkey of not acting more aggressively to assist its allies by shutting down the organization’s supply lines.
“Well, you know, I haven't had a chance to actually visit them yet and see what they're doing. Obviously, a lot of refugees are coming into Turkey and, in many cases, using it more as a transit in order to get to other parts of the world,” he said. “But, you know, I don't want to necessarily be critical of the efforts that they're making."
When pressed on how he would combat the Islamic State, Carson indicated that he was in favor of continuing to work with Kurdish forces in the region.
“What we've discovered that works is, you know, for instance, when we took Sinjar back. The Kurds were able to cut off the supply routes. and that softened the target,” Carson said, referring to the Iraqi city that was recently recaptured from the Islamic State. “And then, our special ops people were able to work with the Kurds very effectively, along with our air power, to take it back. That's a model that works. And that can be applied to other places, you know. Why reinvent the wheel? Just take the things that work.”