Flashback: Chuck Schumer Considered Refugee Pause in 2015

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) may be crying about President Donald Trump’s executive order now, but in November 2015, Schumer considered a similar pause in the refugee program to allow for closer vetting.

The context was the Bataclan massacre in Paris, in which nearly 100 people were killed and 200 wounded. One of the terrorists responsible allegedly entered Europe amidst the Syrian refugee wave, carrying a forged Syrian passport.

The Hill reported on Nov. 17, 2015, in an article headlined “Schumer: Refugee pause may be necessary”:

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership, on Tuesday said it may be necessary to halt the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.

Republicans immediately seized on Schumer’s comment, which breaks with other Democrats who have argued against halting the program.

Schumer, however, declined to take the option off the table ahead of a special briefing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon on the process that is now used to vet refugees entering the United States. “We’re waiting for the briefing tomorrow, a pause may be necessary. We’re going to look at it,” he said.

President Trump’s executive order provides:

The Secretary of State shall suspend the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. During the 120-day period, the Secretary of State, in conjunction with the Secretary of Homeland Security and in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, shall review the USRAP application and adjudication process to determine what additional procedures should be taken to ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States, and shall implement such additional procedures.

Ultimately, Schumer opted against a refugee pause, and instead supported the approach Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

That act originally identified the seven terror-prone states to which Trump’s executive order now applies (and which ultimately passed the Senate under an omnibus spending bill).

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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