WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today voted to halt the acceptance of refugees from Syria and Iraq until the nation’s top security officials can ensure that our refugee process is not exploited by terrorists and foreign fighters.
The bill, the American SAFE Act (H.R. 4038), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in a bipartisan manner, was blocked from moving forward in Senate when it failed to reach the 60 vote threshold it needed to proceed.
“The federal government’s number one responsibility is to protect the American people. Senate Democrats failed to uphold that responsibility today,” Boozman said.
Pointing to admissions from senior level law enforcement and intelligence officials, including FBI Director James Comey, that gaps exist in the data used to vet Syrian refugees, Boozman said more needs to be done to restore the confidence of the American people before moving forward with the program.
“The United States has a long history of providing sanctuary to refugees fleeing from persecution and war-torn countries like Syria. However, Arkansans are rightfully concerned that the Obama administration does not have an effective plan to protect Americans from radical Islamic extremism here at home. The confidence in security officials’ ability to root out terrorists trying to exploit our good graces to carry out attacks simply does not exist. It is a very legitimate concern—both in the intelligence community and in our communities at home—that the Obama Administration is flat-out ignoring,” Boozman said.
After the Paris attacks, Boozman joined his colleague from Arkansas, Senator Tom Cotton, to call for a temporary moratorium on resettlement of Syrian refugees until an evaluation of the security vetting procedures for refugees had been completed and the President could certify the integrity of the process.
The American SAFE Act mirrors Boozman and Cotton’s call by suspending the admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States until the nation’s top security and intelligence officials can certify the integrity of the background checks and are able to declare each refugee, individually, does not pose a threat to the United States.