First, governors of a growing number of states started standing up against President Obama’s insistence on continuing to accept Syrian refugees even in light of the Paris attacks. But as many of you rightly asked, the question remains whether President Obama will go ahead and force his plans on states using his executive authority.
Now, House Republicans are organizing to deploy the power of the purse to stop President Obama.
As reported by Foreign Policy:
Following the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, House Republicans are proposing to block federal funding for resettling Syrian refugees until a series of new conditions are met, Foreign Policy has learned.
The growing momentum behind new legislation, still being drafted, sets up a future clash between the White House and Congress as the Obama administration seeks to offer residency to 10,000 Syrian refugees who currently live outside the conflict zone. Currently, 60 million people worldwide have been forced from their homes or are otherwise considered refugees — higher than at any other time in recorded history. An estimated six million to eight million displaced people are still in Syria, and more than four million Syrian refugees are in Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon.
The draft legislation, a copy of which was obtained by FP, is backed by Reps. Brian Babin, Lou Barletta, Diane Black, Mo Brooks, Jeff Duncan, John Duncan, Blake Farenthold, Louie Gohmert, Frank Guinta, Gregg Harper, Walter Jones, Steve King, Mike Pompeo, Mark Meadows, and Bill Posey. It would prevent funding for the resettlement of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa until authorities adopt “processes to ensure that refugee and related programs are not able to be co-opted by would-be terrorists.” Once those processes are in place, details of the security checks must be given to Congress in both classified and public forums, and the administration must establish a “longer-term monitoring process” to track refugees in the U.S.
The 15 Republican lawmakers pushing the legislation aren’t the only politicians looking to slam the brakes on Obama’s resettlement program. The governors of 15 U.S. states have already said they would not allow Syrian refugees to live in their states. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R) has also said he will introduce legislation to prevent Syrian refugees from obtaining U.S. visas.
Additionally, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul plans to raise the issue of blocking Syrian refugee resettlement at a Tuesday meeting with fellow Republicans, according to two congressional sources.
In a Monday letter to President Barack Obama, McCaul called on the White House to immediately “suspend” the admission of all additional Syrian refugees.
“The high-threat environment demands that we move forward with greater caution in order to protect the American people and to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores,” McCaul wrote.
The rising opposition to assisting Syrian refugees is already alarming humanitarian organizations, which say that doing so defies America’s long tradition of helping individuals fleeing persecution.
A senior Obama administration official, speaking to FP on condition of anonymity, said security concerns about incoming refugees were unfounded — in large part because they undergo “the highest level” of scrutiny by intelligence and security government agencies.
The problem with all of this, of course, is that the FBI has already admitted there’s no way to adequately screen refugees coming from Syria. As we reported previously, FBI Director James Comey acknowledged:
“We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”
Unless and until this changes, we have no reason to feel confident in claims that “screening” refugees will stop would-be terrorists from infiltrating our homeland. So in the meantime, it’s our president who must be stopped. And, by gum, it appears Republicans may finally be showing some cojones and standing up to the emperor. Good thing too, finally, because no one can deny, the emperor ain’t got no clothes.
Here’s another opportunity to voice your opinion. Call your rep and let him or her know you OPPOSE Syrian refugees in the United States: 1-202-224-3121. It takes about 2 minutes. Spread the word!
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]