Jim's Blog

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Supports SAFE Act

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Washington, November 19, 2015 | comments

Today, I voted for H.R. 4038, the American SAFE Act.  While this is a good first step, it does not go far enough.

Senior FBI and Homeland Security officials have testified to Congress that it’s impossible to fully screen prospective refugees for terrorist affiliation, especially those coming from disintegrated states and failed governments.  Further, the American SAFE Act limits such "enhanced" screenings solely to Iraqi and Syrian refugees.  This provision ignores the fact that ISIS has affiliates across the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia and plans to smuggle terrorists in through our broken southern border.  Just yesterday, Honduras arrested five Syrians using stolen Greek passports.  We should suspend refugee admissions until Congress has sufficient assurances to restart the program.

Along with over 60 of my colleagues, I signed a letter to Speaker Ryan demanding that the impending trillion dollar omnibus spending bill include a provision which suspends refugee program funding.  I am also drafting an omnibus rider to defund the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency which is unaccountable to Congress and helps resettle illegal aliens.  We are under no obligation to import possible terrorists to replay the Paris attacks in America.

Consistent with U.S. security interests, the best way to help refugees fleeing ISIS is to (1) rapidly defeat ISIS and (2) resettle the maximum number of refugees in the safest areas closest to Syria and Iraq.  For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can resettle 12 refugees in other countries.  The United States should help the most people using our limited refugee resettlement resources.  We should pause refugee admissions into the United States and redirect resources toward resettling refugees in third-party countries closer to their homes. 

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