GOP presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz is pushing his State Refugee Security Act of 2015 (S. 2363), now before the United States Senate for formal consideration.
Joined by his former boss, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican, Cruz said the two page bill would give Governors the right to reject the settlement of refugees from any nation in their state, at their sole discretion.
Cruz’s new proposal is the third in a series of anti-terrorist bills proposed recently by the junior Senator from Texas.
In November he introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act, which would “immediately bar refugees to the United States from any country, such as Iraq or Syria, that contains territory substantially controlled by a foreign terrorist organization.”
“The bill sunsets after three years so that Congress can reevaluate the global situation and either let the bill expire or reauthorize it with necessary modifications in light of changed circumstances,” according to a statement released by Cruz’s Senate office.
As CBS DFW reported at his press conference today:
Cruz added, “President Obama’s proposal to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, even though his own head of the FBI said that the Obama administration cannot vet these refugees to determine whether they are ISIS terrorists or jihadists — that should be the end of the matter.”
“We should not be bringing in when our own FBI tells us we cannot ascertain whether they are ISIS terrorists,” said Cruz.
In a statement released by his office, Cruz said:
The State Refugee Security Act will amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit the governor of a state to reject the resettlement of a refugee in that state unless there is adequate assurance that the refugee does not present a security risk.
“This legislation will protect the authority of the states and the authority of the governors to keep their citizens safe. Some 30 governors across the country have stood together with Gov. Abbott – standing together as one saying their obligation is to protect the safety and security of the citizens of Texas and the citizens of each of the states that have elected those governors. Those officials are doing their jobs. I applaud them and Gov. Abbott for honoring their commitments to the men and women who elected them,” Sen. Cruz said. “It is my hope that Congress will take up and pass into law the legislation that I introduced today that gives the governors the ability to opt out if the federal government is not sufficiently vetting refugees.”
Specifically, Sen. Cruz’s legislation will require the federal government to notify a state at least 21 days before a refugee is resettled there. Also, it prohibits the resettlement of a refugee in a state if the governor certifies that the federal government has failed to provide adequate assurance that the refugee does not present a security risk to the state.
Governor Abbott recently filed a lawsuit against the federal government and the International Rescue Committee, a voluntary agency (VOLAG) operating in the state of Texas under the state administered program, to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the state.
Despite that lawsuit, the state withdrew its request for a Temporary Restraining Order to the federal judge hearing the case after the federal government provided information about the refugees, an act seen as compliance with the “consultation” requirement found in the federal legislation that authorized the U.S. Resettlement Program, the Refugee Act of 1980.
As Breitbart News reported previously, states such as Texas and Indiana, which are among the 37 that have asked to participate in the U. S. Resettlement Program, do not have a strong constitutional challenge to the U. S. Resettlement Program, while the 12 “Wilson-Fish alternative program” states which have withdrawn from the program have a strong Tenth Amendment case, according to the Thomas More Law Center.
In Indiana, the local Catholic Charities, in effect, told Governor Pence to “pound salt” when he requested not to resettle Syrian refugees in the state.
The constitutional case is so strong among Wilson-Fish alternative program states, the Thomas Law More Center argues, it has prepared a 16 page brief and is ready to file a constitutional challenge to the program as soon as it kind find a governor from among those 12 states to act as a plaintiff.
Governor Abbott was effusive in his praise of Cruz’s proposal.
“America is a charitable nation. But we cannot allow charity for some to compromise security for all,” he said in a statement.
“Congress intended to give states a substantial role in the refugee resettlement process. The federal government and resettlement agencies have sidestepped that role. My top priority as Governor is to keep Texas citizens safe and this legislation helps me do that,” he concluded.