Congress should cancel President Obama’s “blank check” for resettling Syrian refugees here in the wake of the bloody Islamic State attacks in Paris that left hundreds dead or wounded, a prominent senator on immigration issues urged today.
“Our track record on screening is very poor.”—@SenatorSessions
Obama’s plan to include at least 1,000 Syrian refugees among a total of 85,000 over the next year doesn’t include proper scrutiny of who the refugees are and which ones are likely ISIS recruits, Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., wrote in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In addition, the plan would cost far more than the $1.2 billion price tag floated by the administration in a government funding bill, wrote Sessions, chairman of Judiciary’s subcommittee on immigration and the national interest. He said:
Our track record on screening is very poor. My subcommittee has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the United States charged with or convicted of terrorism over approximately the last year alone. The barbaric attacks in Paris—an assault on civilization itself—add immense new urgency.
Authorities have said that at least one terrorist involved in the Paris attacks carried a fake Syrian passport and landed in Greece as part of the wave of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the ongoing civil war in Syria and the brutal terrorist group Islamic State, or ISIS, that has claimed territory in much of Syria and Iraq.
Sessions said administration officials testified to his subcommittee that the government has no access to Syrian government data that would help “properly vet refugees” and “has no capacity to predict whether Syrian refugees are likely to join ISIS, as have many, for example, in Minnesota’s Somali refugee community.”
Sessions’ remarks reflect renewed unease in Congress about the nation’s vulnerability.
In Oct. 22 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director James Comey said the government doesn’t have the resources and information to vet Syrian refugees adequately. Comey acknowledged “certain gaps” in screening procedures for refugees from failed states. Sessions and other immigration authorities pointed to this testimony.
“ISIS terrorists and sympathizers have made clear that they plan to infiltrate Western countries through the refugee system,” Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in prepared remarks Monday on the Paris attacks. “When will President Obama take ISIS threats seriously, as well as the warnings of national security officials within his own administration, and cease his plan to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States?”
The Judiciary Committee will return to such issues Tuesday during a Justice Department oversight hearing. Its subcommittee on immigration and border security will hold a hearing Thursday on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Leaders of several groups that advocate what they consider more reasonable immigration policies also heard alarm bells in the Paris attacks, believed to have been carried out by at least eight ISIS-affiliated terrorists at six different public places.
Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, said in an email to The Daily Signal:
Of course, most refugees and their descendants will never engage…