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Sen. Jeff Sessions: No ‘Blank Check’ For Syrian Refugees Amid Nat’l Security Concerns, High Price Tag

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions is calling on Senate appropriators to place conditions in any upcoming government spending legislation that includes funding for refugee resettlement in the U.S.

“The barbaric attacks in Paris – an assault on civilization itself – add immense new urgency,” Sessions, the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, wrote in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

President Obama plans to resettle at least 85,000 refugees, including at least 10,000 from the terrorist hot spot of Syria in Fiscal Year 2016. As Sessions notes in his letter, planned admission of Syrian refugees come as top administration officials have wanted that the government lacks the data to fully vet their histories of likelihood that they may join ISIS in the future.

“Our track record on screening is very poor. My Subcommittee has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the United States charged with or convicted of terrorism over approximately the last year alone,” he wrote.

Sessions recalled a public statement issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services union more than a year ago in which the union warned that “as we know from the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, from the 9/11 terrorist attacks, from the Boston Bombing, from the recent plot to bomb a school and courthouse in Connecticut, and many other lesser-known terror incidents, we are letting terrorists into the United States right through our front door.”

He further highlighted the immense cost refugee resettlement would add to the debt. According to Sessions, while the cost of resettlement offered by the administration clocks in at $1.2 billion, that is only the initial cost. The administration, he argues, glosses over the fact that refugees are immediately eligible for welfare upon resettlement and recent Middle Eastern refugees has historically used public assistance at very high levels — 90 percent receiving food stamps and about 70 percent on cast and government healthcare.

“Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, estimates the net cost of resettling 10,000 refugees averages out to $6.5 billion over the lifespan of those refugees,” he wrote. “With such a forecast, the President’s proposal to resettle 85,000 refugees this fiscal year alone will result in a net cost of approximately $55.25 billion.”

He argued that the same cost of a single refugee in the U.S. “Syria or surrounding countries until displaced persons can be safely returned home,” charging that “it is not sound policy” to move millions of people out of the Middle East and away from their homes permanently.

“We have resettled 1.5 million migrants from Muslim nations in the United States since 9/11, and it clearly has not contributed to the stabilization of unstable regions. Under current admissions policies, we can be expected to resettle another nearly 700,000 migrants from Muslim countries over the next five years,” he wrote.

According to Sessions, Congress needs to have a voice in the matter. To his letter he attached language that can be asserted into the upcoming government funding bills:

– It would require Congress to hold a separate vote on the President’s refugee resettlement plan to unlock funding for the plan.

– It would require the Congressional Budget Office to produce a full cost score of long-term federal spending on refugee resettlement, including all welfare and entitlement spending.

– It would require the administration to propose offsets to fully pay for refugee resettlement.

– It would require the administration to identify aliens admitted to the United States as refugees since 2001 who subsequently engaged in criminal or terrorist conduct

Without such language, Sessions writes, the Obama administration will resettle “tens of thousands of poorly-vetted Syrian refugees who will eventually be able to bring in their relatives.”

“[A]ll of the exorbitant long-term costs for this resettlement will be borrowed and added to our now $18.4 trillion debt. The current proposal will amount to a blank check to President Obama to carry out his entire refugee resettlement plan,” he wrote.

That being expressed Sessions further charged that the plan will also raid American’s Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

“Immigration policy affects every aspect of society. Our constituents are entitled to have their Congress consider the issue carefully, since the President’s plan will take money directly out of American’s Social Security and Medicare retirement trust funds – while adding substantially to our nation’s long-term deficits,” he concluded.

Read the language:

Sec. ___ None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be obligated or expended to adjudicate or accept any application for the Refugee Admissions Program during this fiscal year, or to admit any refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1107) during this fiscal year, until a joint resolution is enacted into law that approves the number of refugees determined by the President to be admitted during this fiscal year.

Sec. ___ None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be obligated or expended to provide any benefits to refugees admitted during this fiscal year or in any future fiscal year, whether provided directly by the federal government or provided indirectly by any State or local unit of government or through any organization with the use of federal funds, until the Congressional Budget Office submits a report to the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives that identifies: (1) the total estimated cost of the Refugee Admissions Program, including, but not limited to, anticipated costs for providing benefits to new refugees such as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and any other benefits made available to refugees; (2) the total estimated cost of providing any benefits to individuals admitted as refugees who subsequently adjust to lawful permanent resident status; and, (3) the total estimated cost associated with admitting and resettling a single refugee over the average refugee’s lifespan. Provided further, that after the submission of such a report, that none of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be obligated or expended to provide any benefits to refugees admitted during this fiscal year or in any future fiscal year, until the submission of a report by the President that identifies offsetting cuts in other federal spending to account for the total estimated cost of admitting the number of refugees determined by the President under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1107).

Sec. ___ None of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year may be obligated or expended to adjudicate or accept any application for the Refugee Admissions Program during this fiscal year or in any future fiscal year, or to admit any refugee under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1107) during this fiscal year, until the Secretary of Homeland Security submits a report to the Judiciary Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives that identifies: (1) the total number of individuals who were admitted to the United States as refugees, or who were granted asylee status, since 2001, who were subsequently identified as having an affiliation with terrorism in any manner; (2) the total number of children of individuals who were admitted to the United States as refugees, or who were granted asylee status, since 2001, who were subsequently identified as having an affiliation with terrorism in any manner; (3) the total number of individuals who were admitted to the United States as refugees, or who were granted asylee status, since 2001, who were subsequently arrested or convicted for any criminal offense in the United States; (4) the total number of individuals who were admitted to the United States as refugees, or who were granted asylee status, since 2001, who subsequently adjusted to lawful permanent resident status with a waiver granted under section 209(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. § 1109(c)); and (5) the total number of individuals who were admitted to the United States as refugees, or who were granted asylee status, since 2001, who were subsequently removed from the United States for any reason.

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