CNN Anchor, GOP Rep Blackburn Have Heated Exchange on ‘Extreme Vetting’

Wednesday on CNN’s “Wolf,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and guest host Brianna Keilar had a heated exchange over the refugee vetting process.

Blackburn said, “One of the things that I’m hearing from women, especially, is their deep concern over public safety and making certain we are dealing with the terrorist cells that are located in the United States. They’re concerned about what is happening with the refugees and the realization by many people that our governors and our mayors do not know when refugee populations are coming into the communities. And also the awareness that indeed many of these individuals are not vetted. And you have heard from terrorist leaders that they plan to infiltrate refugee population.”

Keilar interrupted saying, “Can I stop you on that, really quick? Because you said many refugees are not vetted, and I know certainly there are concerns. The vast majority of refugees are peaceful, there are many people that argue there are risks when you open yourself up to people coming into the country. But you say they’re not vetted and yet, I’ve gone through the process and it’s pretty extensive. The vetting process, for how many different government agencies, the Department of Homeland Security, and you’re saying, is that being sidestepped?”

Blackburn responded, “Brianna, let me ask you a question. Have you ever been inside one of the reception centers along our southern border?”

After Keilar confirmed, “I have not.”

Blackburn continued, “Let me interject here. I think if you were to take the time to make those visits and talk to those caseworkers and see firsthand what you would learn is that the individuals—that many times those that are entering into the country are released to, they don’t know who they are. Many times these individuals themselves are not in the country legally. And then there is no way to keep track of those that are coming in. Now, when you have an area such as we have, many of the areas in the Middle East, where you do not have the appropriate government structure that can vouch for an individual to say that they are who they really are, or where they’re from…”

The back and forth went on for several more minutes.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN