Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act on Tuesday, which would prevent refugees from countries with terrorist-controlled areas from entering into the United States.
The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) after the attacks in Paris that led to the death of over 120 people. The legislation would prohibit refugees from countries like Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, among others. DeSantis, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2016, is the sponsor of the bill in the House.
“Congress must take action to secure any vulnerabilities within our refugee resettlement program that terrorists could exploit to harm the American people,” DeSantis said in a statement released Tuesday.
“Government officials such as the FBI Director acknowledge that they cannot adequately screen refugees from terrorist havens such as Syria and bad actors such as ISIS have already stated their intent to use these programs to infiltrate the United States. The first duty of the United States government is to protect the American people.”
DeSantis has also urged Florida Democratic Senate candidates, Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy, to back the legislation.
“I’m hopeful that Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy will join me in supporting legislation to protect against the exploitation of the refugee program by terrorists seeking to do harm to Floridians,” said DeSantis.
“ISIS wants to use these programs to sneak militant radical Islamists into our country. I’ll be steadfast in defending our security in the U.S. Senate and I’m proud to lead the fight in the House on this important legislation.”
The legislation does allow for exceptions. If a refugee in a high-risk country can prove “clearly and beyond doubt” that they qualify as a refugee and are a member of a group that is a victim of genocide, they can be granted an exception.
The bill also allows for the State Department to add additional countries to the list of countries from which refugees are banned.