House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Tex., unveiled a plan to overhaul homeland security that includes: “extreme vetting” of foreign travelers; revamping the visa application process; immediate suspension of all immigration, including refugees, from high-risk areas; building a wall and increasing border assets; ending catch-and-release policies; reforming asylum standards; deporting criminal aliens; ending sanctuary cities; implementing a full entry-exit system; re-examining guest-worker programs; and mandating E-Verify.
Below are excerpts from his 12/7 Heritage Foundation speech:
“[T]he overhaul must…start shutting down all terrorist pathways into the United States. First, we must begin “extreme vetting” of foreign travelers…[Those] who have recently traveled to a terrorist hotspot and applying for a visa to our country should undergo a much more intensive, up-front background check. That is why I plan to revamp U.S. visa security and provide expanded authorities to our frontline investigators…In general, our goal should be to identify and exclude individuals who have ties to terror, who advocate Islamist extremism, or who support the overthrow of our government and Constitution.
"Second, we should immediately suspend immigration from high-risk countries where we cannot confidently weed out terror suspects...We know for certain that groups like ISIS have already used refugee flows as a Trojan Horse to attack our allies in France and Germany. Top national security officials have told me—privately and publicly—that they are not confident in our ability to prevent terror operatives from infiltrating the Syrian refugee program. So until we get the right protections in place, it should be suspended.
"Third, we need to push our defenses outward. It’s not enough to combat terrorist travel if our allies don’t do the same. Once a jihadist gets to Europe, he is only a plane-flight away from America.
"[T]he open-border dreams of politicians have created real-life nightmares for everyday Americans…Starting next month, the people are going to get what they asked for. We are going to build the wall. Period…We will put in place a historic, multi-layered defense system so that drug cartels and terrorists don’t slip through the cracks. That means more Border Patrol agents, new authorities, aerial surveillance, sensors, and other technology to protect our territory. We will take a military-style approach to the problem by giving agencies the real command-and-control they need to get a handle on the situation.
“Additionally, we must prevent new waves of illegal immigrants by overturning failed White House policies. I will back Donald Trump’s effort to rescind the Obama Administration’s unlawful executive actions. And I will do all I can to help him end “catch-and-release,” provide a deterrence by quickly deport people who come here illegally, and reform asylum standards so that aliens cannot simply use “magic words” to get a free pass into America. Moreover, we will work with the Administration to take sweeping actions to find and remove all criminal aliens in our country and demand foreign governments accept those who are sent back. This will be a nationwide effort, and we should cut off all federal funding to “sanctuary cities” that refuse to comply. I will see to it that we catch people who overstay their visas, as well, by putting in place a rigorous entry-exit system to keep track of foreign visitors. This is critical, and it’s one of the major unfulfilled recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.
“[W]e can’t forget about American workers. We’ve got to protect our economy by re-examining foreign guest-worker programs and mandating the use of E-Verify to ensure illegal aliens are not taking away U.S. jobs. So my message to the American people is this: your voice was heard, and Congress will work with the Trump Administration to get the job done.
“In the past year, war has repeatedly been brought to our soil in the form of Islamist terror, reminding us that two great oceans are not enough to protect us from aggression. But even in this new age, we still have a shield far greater than any—and one bitterly envied by our enemies: the American spirit. The cause for which we fight—and the power of our resolve—cannot be matched by our foes. So as we rededicate ourselves to victory in this long war, let us remember: our nation’s values have withstood assault from the darkest forces in history. And we will make sure they prevail again.”
Read Chairman McCaul’s full speech.
Updated: Thu, Dec 22nd 2016 @ 1:30pm EST