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More than 50 Lawmakers Press for Refugee Security Enhancements in Spending Bill

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More than 50 Republican House members are calling on appropriators to include language in an upcoming spending bill to enhance refugee-screening measures.

In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee sent one day after the radical Islamic terrorist attacks in Brussels, 54 lawmakers led by Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX) say they want to see the House-passed American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act (SAFE Act) inserted into the FY 2017 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

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Citing security gaps in the current screening process voiced by the Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson, FBI Director James Comey, and the Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper, the lawmakers expressed concerns that ISIS may infiltrate the U.S. via the refugee flow.

“ISIS has promised to take advantage of these security gaps and exploit the refugee crisis to infiltrate Europe and the United States. We should not and cannot allow this vulnerability to continue on our watch and to be paid for under and appropriations bill that Congress approves,” the wrote in the letter Chairman John Carter (R-TX) and Ranking Member Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).

“We respectfully request that provisions are included in this bill to ensure that those refugees considered for refugee resettlement in the United States who come from hotbeds of terrorism (Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen) not be resettled in the United States if they have not been subjected to enhanced security screening,” they added.

The language the House members want to see included would require that all applicants for refugee status from Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen be first certified as not a security threat by the FBI Director, DHS Secretary, and Director of National Intelligence before they are admitted to the U.S.

The letter, dated Wednesday, follows Tuesday’s Islamic terrorist attacks in Brussels that killed more than 30 people.

“This week we witnessed the latest in a series of deadly attacks led by radical Islamic terrorists who have capitalized on the generous immigration and refugee polices of European leaders,” Babin said in a statement Wednesday. “Despite promises by ISIS to take advantage of America’s refugee program, President Obama is unilaterally increasing the number of Syrian refugees allowed entry into the U.S. by tens of thousands. Top officials throughout the government have indicated that they cannot properly vet these refugees for national security risks.”


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