By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Friday, November 20, Secretary of State John Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson sent a joint letter to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) defending President Obama’s Syrian refugee policy and denying Bentley’s request that the Administration share more information about the Syrian refugees that the Administration wants to resettle in Alabama with the actual state of Alabama.
Secretaries Kerry and Johnson wrote, “Our multi-agency system for vetting refugees is strong, and it has been significantly enhanced over the past few years. Indeed applicants for refugee status are screened more carefully than any other type of travelers to the United States. We have tremendous faith in this system’s ability to investigate, detect, and distrupt terrorist plotting in this country, as it has done repeatedly.”
On Tuesday, November 24, US Representative Bradley Byrne (R-Montrose) said, “The question is not whether the refugee vetting process is ‘thorough’ enough. The question is whether we have the information and resources needed to actually research Syrian refugees. Based on what I have learned, that is simply not the case. The screening system depends on the United States having certain information that we can only get from people and assets on the ground in the home country. We do not have those resources in Syria. That’s why FBI Director James Comey said that he could not give ‘an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated’ with allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.”
After the House of Representatives passed legislation, HR4038, in response to the Syrian refugee crisis increasing the stringency of the vetting process, US Representative Mike Rogers (R-Saks) said, “I strongly oppose President Obama’s reckless plan to allow thousands of refugees from Syria and regions controlled by ISIS into the US ISIS is currently using the refugee crisis as a pipeline to move Islamic terrorists into Europe. Especially after the attacks in Paris, we cannot and will not risk our national security for the sake of misplaced compassion and allow this Islamic terrorist pipeline to reach the United States.”
Congressman Rogers said, “This bill is the first step in the process to halt the Administration’s actions. Additionally, I plan to oppose any funding for President Obama’s refugee program when Congress considers the year’s final appropriations bill in December.”
HR4038 passed the House by a veto proof majority of 289 to 137. The legislation was supported by the entire Alabama Congressional Delegation.
President Obama has said that the measures would make refugees wait longer in line to enter the country and has promised to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk. The bill still has to pass the US Senate where a number of bills have either not been acted upon or failed to reach the 60 votes necessary to override a filibuster.
According to information provided by Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-Alabama) office Muslim immigration to the United States has increased dramatically in the last five years.