After a consultation with Secretary of State John Kerry concerning refugee plans for fiscal year 2016, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, warned the Obama Administration may seek to bring in tens of thousands of additional refugees beyond its initial proposal of 5,000. He also demanded that Obama prove to the American people that it will protect national security interests before accepting Syrian refugees who could be tied to terrorist groups like ISIS.
Below are excerpts from the statement Sen. Grassley issued after meeting with Secretary Kerry.
“Secretary Kerry initially said that the Obama administration is seeking a reasonable increase in refugees allowed into the United States in the upcoming fiscal year. But when pressed, the administration indicated that they were considering opening the floodgates and using emergency authority to go above what they proposed to Congress in today’s consultation. The administration also has not ruled out potentially paroling thousands of Syrians into the United States.
“The United States welcomes more refugees than the rest of the world’s countries combined…(T)he administration also needs to enlist the help of other capable, affluent nations in the Middle East to deal with the crisis in Syria to care for those who are fleeing violence and persecution.
“In addition, before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans.”
On Wednesday, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that ISIS may try to “infiltrate” groups of refugees in an effort to implant terrorists in Western countries.
Initial reports indicated Sec. Kerry told Sen. Grassley and other lawmakers that the U.S. plans to take at least 75,000 refugees from all parts of the world in 2016, an amount 5,000 higher than fiscal year 2015. Kerry subsequently said he would likely come back to Congress to request about 30,000 more. A report today clarified that Obama intends to bring in 10,000 refugees just from Syria in fiscal year 2016.
Kerry is required by law to consult with Congress regarding the number of refugees the United States will admit each year. In the event of an “emergency refugee situation” the Administration may admit additional refugees but only after additional consultation with Congress.
Read more in Roll Call.
Updated: Thu, Sep 24th 2015 @ 1:55pm EDT