A group of Republican lawmakers are calling for a complete, temporary halt of all refugee resettlement funding, including the resettlement of “special interest aliens” crossing the Southern border.
On Wednesday, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Brian Babin (R-TX), and Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) publicly debuted plans to insert language into the upcoming omnibus spending bill that would temporarily suspend resettlement funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement’s (ORR).
“The Members argue that congressional action to protect American citizens from Islamic State terrorists must acknowledge vulnerabilities in our overseas vetting process as well as our domestic security vulnerabilities,” the congressmen’s offices explained in a release.
“Islamic State terrorists can just as easily pose as illegal aliens crossing our southern border as they can refugees fleeing a war torn country overseas,” it added.
The lawmakers’ offices highlighted the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steven McCraw’s response when asked if ISIS terrorists have crossed the Southern border.
“Individuals that come across the Texas/Mexican border from countries with a known terrorism presence and the answer to that is yes,” he said.
Further, the offices cited an April Judicial Watch report claiming that ISIS fighters are operating training bases near the border, and an August 2014 report highlighting social media chatter warning that ISIS plans to “infiltrate” the U.S. via the Southern border.
Of additional concern to the lawmakers is the growth of ORR’s budget from approximately $750 million in FY 2012 to now more than $1.5 billion as well as ORR’s failure to submit “timely” annual reports to Congress.
“The vetting and resettlement processes associated with services for refugees and aliens not in a legitimate lawful status must be re-examined in order to address threats from all potential access points,” the offices argued in their release.
With that in mind, Smith, Blackburn, Babin, and Bridenstine say all resettlement services should be temporarily halted.
“If Congress funds ORR without such restrictions, Congress will be providing the President the funds to carry out his refugee resettlement efforts in full – both from countries overseas as well as through the resettlement of illegal aliens at the Southern border,” the release reads.
The foursome are currently drafting legislation to that effect for inclusion into the omnibus spending bill.