Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), and Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) have introduced legislation that would halt the refugee resettlement program until its impacts on the country can be further examined. H.R.4218 would not only examine the budgetary impacts of refugee resettlement, but also require the Department of Homeland Security to produce a report identifying past refugees who have committed criminal acts in the United States.
The bill would:
- Congress passes a joint resolution approving the President’s refugee resettlement plan
- CBO provides a report to Congress scoring the long term cost of refugee resettlement operations
- DHS submits a report to Congress identifying terrorist and criminal activity of refugees admitted into the U.S. since 2001
- The President submits a report to Congress of the prior year’s cost of admitting refugees and proposes offsetting spending cuts to pay for resettlement
The Obama Administration has announced plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016 in addition to the approximately 70,000 already resettled in the United States each year. One of the attackers in Paris last month gained entry to Europe after posing as a Syrian refugee in October.
“President Obama’s plan to admit thousands of additional Syrian refugees into this country at a time of heightened jihadist threats and the San Bernardino massacre is beyond reckless," Rep. Blackburn said. "It endangers our national security and costs hard working taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, which is why an omnibus funding bill should not include a blank check for refugee resettlement. We must confront the danger of radical Islamic extremism. Our legislation will allow Congress to check the President’s irresponsible resettlement agenda.”
“Recent attacks justify a temporary halt in our current refugee resettlement program," Rep. Smith said. "We have asked this administration for reports on the number of refugees admitted in recent years, the associated costs, and the number who have engaged in acts of terrorism or committed crimes. Americans deserve answers to these questions, yet the administration has failed to provide them. Our bill is simple: no more refugee admittance until we can strengthen the system and better ensure the safety of Americans. For this administration to force foreign refugees on American communities at this time ignores the very real security threats we face.”
"The attack in California demonstrated once again that there are radical Islamic terrorists whose main goal in life is to kill Americans," Rep. Barletta Said. "While the United States has always been a nation that welcomes people seeking refuge, it is only prudent to suspend our refugee program until we know exactly who we are letting in. The people’s representatives in Congress should have a say in who is admitted, how much relocating them will cost, and what security risks are associated with them. Until we have a handle on a dependable vetting process, we should put national security first and call a temporary halt to the refugee program.”
“The United States has always been a kind and caring nation," Rep. DesJarlais said. "However, we must not forget our government’s primary constitutional responsibility of ensuring the safety of the American public. As such, it is incumbent upon our elected officials to establish protocols that will properly safeguard our country from those who come here solely to do us harm. Unfortunately, President Obama’s own administration has publicly admitted that under the current framework, Syrian refugees cannot be vetted in a way that meets the rigorous security standards we rightfully expect. Therefore, it is critical we halt the refugee program until Congress is satisfied any individual admitted will not pose a security risk now or in the future.”
You can read the bill here.
Updated: Mon, Dec 28th 2015 @ 10:25am EST