Wolf: Allow president to restrict travel to countries like Syria

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) urged fellow lawmakers to sign onto his bill that would allow the president to restrict travel to countries with governments allowing terrorist groups to engage in armed conflict.

In a letter to colleagues, Wolf said his legislation would help prevent people fighting with groups like ISIS from returning to the U.S.

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"This bill is a commonsense solution to a dangerous challenge that we face from groups like ISIS - groups that are seeking to recruit Americans to fight with them and potentially return to the U.S. to commit attacks," Wolf wrote. "It is imperative that the U.S. take proactive steps to discourage Americans from traveling to Syria to link up with these groups."

Under current law, the FBI cannot detain or arrest terrorist suspects unless it has concrete evidence that they have joined a terrorist group. Moreover, Wolf said that the U.S. was not doing enough to discourage people from traveling to Syria or other countries and fight for terrorist organizations. 

Wolf pointed to recent examples of an American suicide bomber in northern Syria, as well as Douglas McAuthur McCain, a Minnesota man who died fighting for ISIS in Syria.

"This is an untenable situation that puts our country at greater risk of attack from a radicalized American who trains and fights with these groups and later returns home," Wolf said.

Wolf's bill would already identify Syria as a "country of conflict concern." But the president would be authorized to give other countries the same designation.

Wolf introduced his measure, H.R. 4223, in March. It currently has three co-sponsors.

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