House Republicans are vowing to shut down the Obama administration’s Syrian refugee resettlement program.
A draft of legislation composed by 15 House Republicans was obtained by Foreign Policy magazine on Monday. The bill’s sponsors aim to cut off all funding for refugees coming from the Middle East and North Africa until, “processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would-be terrorists.”
The lawmakers’ move comes in response to last Friday’s terror attack in Paris, France, that killed 129. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the wave of terror, and a fake Syrian passport was found near one of the suicide bombers.
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Greek authorities confirmed over the weekend that a man identifying himself as asylum-seeker Ahmed Almuhamed, 25, left the island of Leros on Oct. 3.
A senior Obama administration official, speaking to FP on condition of anonymity, told the magazine that Republicans’ security concerns were unfounded because refugees undergo “the highest level” of scrutiny. The official asked to remain anonymous.
Obama has expressed a desire to take in 10,000 Syrians in 2016 and up to 100,000 by the end of 2017.
FP’s reporting on Monday followed the decision by 12 state governors to refuse Syrian refugees sent by the federal government.
“Texas cannot participate in any program that will result in Syrian refugees – any one of whom could be connected to terrorism – being resettled in Texas,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in an open letter to Obama on Monday, Reuters reported. “Neither you nor any federal official can guarantee that Syrian refugees will not be part of any terroristic activity.”
“We are asking the U.S. Congress to take immediate and aggressive action to prevent President Obama and his administration from using any federal tax dollars to fund the relocation … without an extensive evaluation of the risk these individuals may pose to our national security,” added Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
House Republicans currently backing the bill include: Reps. Brian Babin, Texas; Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania; Diane Black, Tennessee; Mo Brooks, South Carolina; Jeff Duncan, South Carolina; John Duncan, Tennessee; Blake Farenthold, Texas; Louie Gohmert, Texas; Frank Guinta, New Hampshire; Gregg Harper, Mississippi; Walter Jones, North Carolina; Steve King, New York; Mike Pompeo, Kansas; Mark Meadows, North Carolina; and Bill Posey, Florida.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul plans to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.