Only 37 Republican congressmen have signed on to a Texas lawmaker's effort to eliminate funding for all refugees being sent to the U.S. from terrorist hotbeds like Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, told WND Tuesday the attacks in Minnesota, New York and New Jersey over the weekend, combined with earlier attacks by Muslim immigrants or sons of immigrants on Orlando, San Bernardino and Chattanooga, have created a "clear and present danger" that Congress must address. Especially since the sitting president, Barack Obama, refuses not only to stem the flow of Muslim refugees but has been on a crusade to increase that flow before he leaves office in January.
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Yet, when he tried last week to muster support for legislation that would do just that, Babin found very little support among his own Republican colleagues in Congress.
Refugees bound for the U.S. are selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, then screened by federal agents for ties to formal terrorist organizations like ISIS or al-Qaida, but without any questions about their loyalty to Shariah law.
That's why Babin invited all 247 Republicans in the House to sign a letter calling for language to be inserted into an upcoming budget resolution that would cut funding for U.N. refugees coming to America from countries with active jihadist movements.
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Babin could find only 36 congressmen who would sign his letter, which he sent on Sept. 15 to Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who are negotiating the so-called "continuing resolution" to fund the government for another three months.
"It may be the latter part of the week before we reach a vote on the resolution. I don't know the time table. I just know this is our only chance to get included things that are such a crisis for our country and especially this refugee program," Babin told WND.
The terrorist attacks on Minnesota, New York and New Jersey over the weekend make the issue even more critical, he said.
"My letter would stop the intake from the Middle East and North Africa and eliminate funding to bring those in," he said.
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Babin isn't the only one getting worried about the rising number of refugees coming terror hot spots.
NumbersUSA, one of the largest immigration watchdog groups, sent out an email alert Tuesday calling for a moratorium on all resettlements from these danger zones.
As Babin was discussing his plan with WND to keep radical Islamists out of the U.S., President Obama spoke before the United Nations global refugee summit in New York, trying to convince the West to accept more refugees fleeing wars in the Middle East. He called on leaders not to give up on "global integration" and turn to isolationist policies.
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Eleven times during Obama's last address to the U.N. he talked down the United States.
Babin's letter calls for continuing to send aid to struggling refugees, which he says should be placed in safe zones in the Middle East until the wars and conflicts are over.
'First duty is to citizens of my country'
"The Democrats and those who think we're uncompassionate, the last part of my letter addresses that saying we would continue to supply aid to the safe zones and continue helping these people. But my first duty is to the citizens of my country and my district, and the president should have that same philosophy and duty. Yet he continues to endanger our kids and grandkids," Babin said.
"Let me tell him something," he added. "I have grandkids, and that’s the duty we have: to protect them first. That's the first duty of our government, Mr. President."
The Republican-controlled Congress has the power to cut the purse strings on the refugee flow coming from jihadist-friendly countries, but it shows no signs of doing so.
Freedom Caucus can't muster votes against refugees
Even among the members of the House Freedom Caucus, whose roster includes the most conservative members of the Republican majority, only 18 of the 41 caucus members signed on to the Babin plan to cut funding.
"At least these people should have been on our side," said refugee watchdog Ann Corcoran, who blogs at RefugeeResttlementWatch.org. "It's maddening, unless they are getting some kind of money, from the Chamber of Commerce or somebody."
Freedom Caucus members who have not signed Babin's letter are as follows:
- Jim Jordan of Ohio, Chair
- Justin Amash of Michigan
- Rod Blum of Iowa
- Ken Buck of Colorado
- Curt Clawson of Florida
- Ron DeSantis of Florida
- John Fleming of Louisiana
- Trent Franks of Arizona
- Scott Garrett of New Jersey
- Paul Gosar of Arizona
- Morgan Griffith of Virginia
- Raúl Labrador of Idaho
- Alex Mooney of West Virginia
- Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina
- Gary Palmer of Alabama
- Steve Pearce of New Mexico
- Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
- Ted Poe of Texas
- Bill Posey of Florida
- Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania
- Mark Sanford of South Carolina
- David Schweikert of Arizona
- Marlin Stutzman of Indiana
The 17 Freedom Caucus members who have joined with Babin, also a caucus member, to sign the letter to Ryan are as follows: Dave Brat of Virginia, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andy Harris of Maryland, Jody Hice of Georgia, Walter Jones of North Carolina, Steve King of Iowa, Barry Loudermilk of Georgia, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Matt Salmon of Arizona, Randy Weber of Texas and Ted Yoho of Florida.
Obama officials refuse to testify before Senate refugee hearing
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also expressed frustration Tuesday, issuing a terse statement condemning the Obama administration for refusing to testify before his subcommittee this week on the refugee crisis, electing instead to attend the U.N. refugee summit in New York.
“Despite having sufficient notice of a statutorily required hearing regarding its plans for the Refugee Admissions Program in Fiscal Year 2017, the Obama Administration has once again elected to subordinate both its relationship with Congress and the legitimate concerns of the American people to advance the agenda of the United Nations," Sessions said in the statement.
"The Department of State claims that not one official is available to appear at tomorrow’s scheduled hearing due to this week’s United Nations General Assembly and Summit for Refugees and Migrants," Sessions added. "The Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services have also refused to attend tomorrow’s hearing in a strange display of bureaucratic solidarity with the Department of State’s indefensible decision. The American people deserve explanations about the Administration’s reckless plans to admit 110,000 refugees beginning on October 1, 2016. They demand that their leaders end the lawlessness and abuses in the Refugee Admissions Program, and that their leaders place the safety and security of this country first.”
Corcoran said Sessions has every right to be angry.
"For these folks to refuse to testify is abominable," she said. "And here's the thing: They don't want to testify because they don't want to be asked questions about these refugee terrorists [in Minnesota and New York]."
The continuing resolution being negotiated by Ryan this week will fund the government from Oct. 1 to the end of the year in the absence of a formal budget. It's a small budget battle on the path to what will likely be a larger battle in December. Last year, Congress ended up passing a massive $1.1 trillion omnibus budget bill in December that fully funded all of Obama's refugee resettlement plans for 2016.
"Even if he loses this battle, Congressman Babin is educating Congress and the public and setting the table for a huge battle in December if Trump is elected," said Corcoran.
Babin's effort comes just as President Obama is ramping up his resettlement plans, trying to get as many refugees into the country before his term ends and get Congress locked into a plan that funds even more refugees through next year after he's gone from the White House.
Obama has upped the number of refugees bound for the U.S. to 110,000 in fiscal 2017, which begins Oct. 1. That's up from 85,000 in 2016 and 70,000 in 2015. According to a report in the Reno Journal Gazette, the administration is planning to open 47 new refugee resettlement offices in cities nationwide with Reno just one of the 47.
This weekend's terrorist attacks in Minnesota and New York were both carried out by Muslim immigrants, a Somali refugee in Minnesota and an Afghan asylum seeker living in New Jersey. Both entered the U.S. as small children and grew up to become terrorists.
The knife attack on the Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota, injured 10 shoppers, one critically, and the pipe bombing in New York City injured 29. Another bombing in New Jersey was foiled.
But even with the growing threat, getting the GOP-controlled Congress to act on cutting funding has been a slow, tough slog, Babin told WND.
"We're working hard to see if we can make some headway on our refugee situation, and it's getting pretty spooky," he said, referring to this weekend's series of attacks. "We sent our request to all 247 Republicans. The letter was turned in last Thursday [to Speaker Ryan] with 37 signatures including myself. I just wonder how many more would have signed on if we had turned it in this week?"
Babin said he did not seek Democrat support for his proposal because he could not get any of them interested in his bill last year that called for halting all refugee resettlement until a full audit of the program could be conducted. That bill had 80 Republican co-sponsors but stalled when Paul Ryan refused to let it out of committee. Ryan instead engineered what many called a "show vote" on a much weaker bill, the American SAFE Act, sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C.
Babin said he hasn't heard from any more members of Congress, Republican or Democrat, wanting to sign on to his letter in the wake of this weekend's attacks.
"This is a clear and present danger. But no, I have not heard from them. This whole refugee, open borders, asylum seeker, the massive visa programs, sanctuary cities, it's all tied together," Babin told WND. "We now have reports, there's been an intelligence release, where our Southern Command said there are Sunni extremists coming across our southern border and they are paying human traffickers to bring them in."
Screen Muslims for allegiance to Shariah
Babin said he doesn't have anything against Muslims, but the U.S. government should not be bringing in those who have a commitment to Shariah law or jihad.
"I don't have anything against Muslims in general but I do have a problem with those who don't assimilate and put Shariah ahead of our Constitution and yet want to come to our country and those who radicalize and want to do us harm," Babin said. "Those are the ones we have to weed out."
Babin said the task of "weeding out" is virtually impossible when dealing with refugees from countries like Syria and Somalia where chaos rules due to years of civil strife and war.
"All three of our national security people – FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and DHS Director Jeh Johnson – have warned Congress we can't screen these people," Babin said. "We have quotes from all three of them in 2015 saying we really have a problem because they can't sufficiently vet and screen these people. And in spite of that, the president has brought in over 11,000 Syrians, and then next year he wants to bring in even more, 110,000 refugees from around the world."
About half of the 110,000 would come from Muslim-dominated countries.
Look at Europe
"He wants to plus it up, and it's an absolute clear and present danger. All you have to do is look at what's happening in Europe with the unchecked influx of migrants and refugees. And look at what happened in Nice. Look at Brussels and Paris and then, hey, look at what's happened here in Orlando and just this past weekend," Babin said.
Even if it were possible to vet the adults, how does the U.S. government vet children like Dahir Adan, the Minnesota Muslim and mall attacker who entered the U.S. at the age of 2 from a U.N. refugee camp in Kenya, only to grow up and become a terrorist?
"You can't," Babin told WND. "The proof is in the pudding because we've seen the children come in and then radicalize. We can see the whole problem in Europe where they have not assimilated, and they put Shariah ahead of their nations' laws, and then they radicalize. We don't know who these people are. We don't have a handle on it, and then the president wants to continue to bring in even more."
Babin also lamented Hillary Clinton's vow to step up refugee resettlement from Syria well beyond even Obama's increases. She has said she'd like to bring in 65,000 Syrians.
"This is the most astounding thing to bring in 65,000 her first year. This is playing right into the hands of Donald Trump. This is, I think, how he got to where he is today, by emphasizing immigration as Obama and Mrs. Clinton are just fiddling while Rome burns.
"That's the bottom line: They're fiddling, and it doesn’t matter what the facts are, not to them. It's amazing that we would be so willfully blind to allow the same thing that's happening in Western Europe to happen over here," Babin said "As we speak, Obama's at a U.N. summit trying to talk about taking in even more refugees. It's just amazing how the elite media and political class is all out to get Trump, as if he's caused all of these problems. He's caused none of them. He's an outsider, and that's his greatest appeal."
Babin said Hillary Clinton's most used claim for being qualified as president is turning into her greatest weakness.
"Mrs. Clinton has always said her greatest qualification is her steady hand of experience, but 70 percent think this country is going in the wrong direction and her steady hand is steering us in the absolute wrong direction of where that 70 percent of Americans want to see it go."
'Political correctness is getting people killed'
Babin also chastised Obama for refusing to use the word "terrorist" and "radical Islam" in the wake of each new terror attack.
"Political correctness is what's getting people killed," he said. "It's what keeps us from doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done.
"It's like you look at your neighbor's home and it's on fire, and you've got to get to him and help him because he's asleep. America is asleep, and its house is absolutely on fire. We have to get the word out about this."