Shimkus votes for tougher entry screening for Syrian, Iraqi refugees
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) voted Thursday in support of a bill that would drastically slow or prevent Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the country by adding further scrutiny to the screening process.
The American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act would require the director of the FBI, the secretary of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence to individually confirm the absence of a security threat for each refugee before he or she would be allowed into the U.S.
The bill reflects an outcry from states and several countries that had made commitments to accept Syrian refugees before the terrorist attacks on Paris last week. During the investigation, authorities found a Syrian passport near the body of one of the attackers, raising questions about the risk of accepting tens of thousands of refugees en masse with limited screening measures. Illinois is one of dozens of states that has temporarily suspended acceptance of Syrian refugees.
“The SAFE Act puts a stop to the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in the United States until our nation’s top security officials can be certain that each individual poses no threat to our homeland,” Shimkus said. “This is not an imagined threat. The [President Barack] Obama Administration themselves even paused the flow of refugees from Iraq for six months in 2011 after learning that several dozen terrorists may have infiltrated the United States through the program.”
Shimkus went further by signing onto a letter asking House leadership to withhold funding for bringing refugees to the U.S. and instead make sure that money was spent providing aid to the refugees while they are still abroad.
The SAFE Act goes against the Obama's plan to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the U.S. over the next year despite the concerns raised by the Paris attacks. Following the House's advancement of the SAFE Act, the White House issued a statement saying Obama would veto the bill if it made it to his desk.