Republicans are reinvigorating their warnings that terrorists are able to infiltrate the U.S. via Obama’s refugee resettlement efforts following the arrests to two Middle Eastern refugees on terrorism-related charges.
“It is disturbing, though not surprising, that terrorists have succeeded in exploiting our refugee system to come to the U.S. and aid ISIS. These groups have been open about their intentions to infiltrate the tens of thousands of Middle East refugees this administration is determined to bring to our shores,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) said Friday, reiterating his call for a temporary halt of all refugee resettlement until the U.S. can verify that all “gaps” in the screening are sealed.
On Thursday two refugees born in Iraq and admitted to the U.S. as refugees were arrested on terror charges in California and Texas.
Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, who was living in Sacramento, CA, has been charged with traveling to Syria to fight alongside terrorists. Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, who was living in Houston Texas, has been charged with attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Both men have also been charged with lying to immigration officials.
The arrests of the alleged terrorist refugees come as the Obama administration continues its plan to dramatically increase the number of refugees from terrorist hotspots that it admits to the U.S., despite warnings from top security officials and Republicans.
“We’ve been warned by Obama’s own DHS, DNI and FBI directors that we cannot properly vet these folks – and ISIS is now delivering on their promise to exploit the program,” Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) said Friday. “This serves as yet another wakeup call to anyone who has doubts about the real and imminent threat we face from Obama’s dangerous and reckless refugee policies. We must act now. Further delay is not an option.”
Babin has been calling for a suspension of the refugee resettlement program.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte praised law enforcement for intercepting the alleged terrorists but said the incident “underscores” the need to revamp the security of the vetting process. He called on Obama to “pause” the administration’s plan to resettle high volumes of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the U.S. this year.
“The primary duty of the federal government is to keep Americans safe,” he said, adding that his committee is working on additional legislation to strengthen the vetting process for all visa applicants and refugees.
In November the House passed legislation aimed at tightening the refugee vetting system. The president has threatened to veto the bill.
Friday House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) called on the Senate to pass the security billl, saying the recent arrests “heighten my concern that our refugee program is susceptible to exploitation by terrorists.”
“The president has assured us that individuals from Iraq and Syria receive close scrutiny, but it is clearly not enough,” McCaul said. “We need to act, which is why today I call upon the Senate to take up my bill to overhaul the security vetting of Iraqi and Syrian refugees. We cannot delay while more potential jihadists slip through the cracks. Terrorist groups like ISIS have vowed to use these programs to infiltrate the West, and now it is clearer than ever that we should take them at their word.”