By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, November 19, the US House of Representatives passed HR4038 to mitigate the national security risks presented by President Obama’s plan to allow as many as 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States in 2016. HR4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, seeks to ensure that ISIS terrorists aren’t able to infiltrate the country through the refugee resettlement program. ISIS has said it would use refugee resettlements to infiltrate western countries and launch attacks.
US Representative Roby (R-AL) supported the legislation alongside a unanimous Alabama delegation, saying the bill was an important first step toward making sure national security isn’t compromised. Rep. Roby said in a statement, “More measures will likely be necessary to stop President Obama’s plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees here, but today’s vote, less than a week after the Paris attacks, was an important first step. This strong, bi-partisan vote sends a clear message to President Obama that we have to take these risks seriously.”
US Representative Robert Aderholt said in his own statement, “I voted today for a bill that establishes tough criteria for any Syrian or Iraqi refugee trying to enter the U.S. Some have asked why we would do something like this. My reply is that I do not lock the doors of my house at night because I hate the people outside but because I love the people within. Two years ago when President Obama referred to ISIS as the “JV Squad,” he made it clear he did not take the threat seriously. There is no reason to believe he would take the vetting of refugees seriously either.”
Rep. Roby said, “We know terrorists based in Syria and Iraq have said they would actively game the refugee resettlement process to infiltrate western countries. Common sense Americans are rightfully concerned about this, and our Commander-in-Chief ought to be as well.”
The bill halts the resettlement of any and all Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States until: The Director of the FBI certifies the background investigation of each refugee and Congress receives certification from the Secretary of Homeland Security “with the unanimous concurrence of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Director of National Intelligence” that the refugee(s) are not a threat.
Rep. Roby criticized President Obama’s recent rhetoric saying that those concerned with resettlement security risks as “recruiting tools” for ISIS was shameful and not helpful. Rep. Roby said, “President Obama’s rhetoric about the Syrian refugee situation is pretty shameful and really isn’t helping matters at all. He has predictably taken to attacking and belittling anyone who doesn’t agree with him rather than acknowledging and dealing with the actual problem at hand.”
The bill passed with bi-partisan support 289 to 137.
It now goes to the Senate.
Rep. Roby said, “There is no question we have had difficulty getting the Senate to pass or even vote on good legislation lately. But, I believe the overwhelming, bi-partisan support in the House is a good indication of how strongly Americans feel about this. I’m optimistic that momentum will carry into the Senate. We really can’t afford to play political games with this.”
The resettlement of Syrian refugees in this country was controversial before the Paris attacks; but after the slaying of 132 Parisians by Islamo-fascist terrorists, at least one of them a recent refugee from Syria, the issue has taken on new importance.
President Obama, meanwhile, continues to defend the policy. He said on Wednesday “We are not well served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don’t make good decisions if it’s based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks.” Obama is promising to veto HR4308 if the Senate passes it.