As the Obama administration moves forward with its plans to aggressively accelerate the admission of Syrian refugees, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) is looking to rein in those plans and make certain Congress has a voice in the matter.
“Many Americans are understandably concerned about the threat posed by inadequate security screening procedures for refugee seeking entry into the United States. ISIS themselves have stated their intention to take advantage of the crisis to infiltrate the west. We have to take this threat seriously,” McCaul, the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, explains.
Friday, the Texas lawmaker introduced a bill to require approval by both the House and Senate on the resettlement of refugees into the United States.
In addition to granting Congress a vote on the Obama administration’s plans for Syrian refugee resettlement, the Refugee Resettlement Oversight and Security Act would also require the administration, when considering refugees from Iraq and Syria, to prioritize oppressed religious minorities.
It would also mandate that the Department of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence, and Federal Bureau of Investigation to ensure that security measures are in place and screening is effective.
Over the weekend Secretary of State John Kerry announced the Obama administration would vastly increase the number of refugees it admits over the coming two years, from 70,000 this year, to 85,000 refugees next year, and 100,000 in 2017.
“This bill will rein in the Administration’s refugee resettlement plans and give Congress more control over the process by requiring the Administration to get affirmative approval from Congress through the enactment of a joint resolution before any refugees may be admitted into the United States,” McCaul said.
“These important security updates to the refugee process are necessary for not only the security of the United States, but for the safety of the refugees,” he added.
The homeland security committee chairman has been a vocal critic of the administration’s plans to allow an increasing number of Syrian refugees into the U.S. due to national security concerns and inadequate vetting systems.
The White House earlier announced that Obama plans to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees next year, a plan that given the lack of security assurances McCaul has characterized as “very reckless and dangerous.”