Americans are a generous people, and we want to help those in the world suffering from terrorism and civil war. But our humanitarian desires must always be tempered by the need to keep our country safe.
The American people are deeply concerned about the risk of terrorists infiltrating our country through our refugee program and carrying out an attack within our own borders. And the House shares those concerns.
So we have one principle when it comes to admitting people into our country: If you are a terrorist, you are not getting in. Period. Any system that would allow that to happen is unacceptable.
To face this immediate threat, the House will pass the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, introduced by Chairman Michael McCaul and sponsored by Representative Richard Hudson (more information here).
What is the SAFE Act?
To ensure that comprehensive background checks are conducted on every refugee from Syria and Iraq seeking admittance into the United State, this bill will require two actions:
- The FBI director must certify the background investigation of each refugee.
- The secretary of homeland security, the FBI director, and the director of national intelligence must unanimously concur that each refugee is not a security threat to the United States and make a certification to Congress.
This bill constitutes an effective pause until we are certain that no refugee from Iraq and Syria who is a threat will be allowed in the country.
However, the challenges we face are about more than refugees. Because we lack a winning strategy, ISIS is neither on the road to defeat nor contained. From the attacks in Paris and Beirut to the bombing of a Russian airplane in Egypt by what is believed to be an ISIS affiliate, ISIS is extending it reach far beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq. And each day we allow ISIS to continue to exist is another day they can train, recruit, and radicalize more people to continue their war on the civilized world and threaten the security of the American people.
The President needs to change his strategy and lead. Nothing can replace a winning strategy led by a committed commander-in-chief. However, Congress will do everything in its power to ensure the American people stay safe and address the threats facing our nation.