Islamic extremists have tried to get into the U.S. via the refugee program, but that the Obama administration hasn’t made that fact public yet, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) announced Monday.
He also said the House would soon push “a slate of new bills” to curb jihadi attacks in the United States.
“ISIS members in Syria have attempted to exploit [the refugee program] to get into the United States,” McCaul announced while speaking at the National Defense University in Washington D.C. “The U.S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U.S. refugee program.”
According to The Hill, “McCaul would not say specifically who informed him and other lawmakers about the revelation, only describing the sources as ‘elements of the intelligence community.'”
“That was very courageous for them to come forward with this, to tell me about this personally, given the political debate on the Hill,” he said, adding that the briefing took place earlier this week.
“I believe the state of our homeland is increasingly not secure,” warned McCaul.“I believe 2015 will be seen as a watershed year in this long war — the year when our enemies gained an upper hand and when the spread of terror once again awoke the West.”
He added that new bills to stop the refugee program will be offered in the upcoming weeks.
“This is just the beginning,” McCaul vowed. “Over the coming weeks, we will introduce a slate of new bills based on the findings of the [bipartisan congressional] task force to keep terrorists from crossing our borders.”
McCaul’s statement comes as Congress is struggling to finalize the spending bill with a deadline only four days away, and with defunding the Syrian refugee program being a point of contention between Republicans and Democrats.