Republicans warn ISIS fighters could infiltrate US as refugees

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Republican lawmakers are pushing the administration on its vetting of Syrian refugees amid plans to increase the number accepted into the United States each year.

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Randy ForbesRandy ForbesGOP rep faces recount in close primary race Virginia GOP rep loses primary Supreme Court to review Virginia state voting districts MORE (R-Va.) sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryDozens of Clinton meetings left off State schedule: report Overnight Cybersecurity: Sit-in disrupts cyber hearings | Trump tries to defend claim Clinton was hacked Kerry backs government access to encrypted data MORE and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warning that fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could try to sneak into the U.S. disguised as refugees.

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"We must be aware that groups like ISIS will infiltrate refugee camps and try to seek admittance into the United States. As you move forward with the process of admitting more refugees into this country, it is critical that rigorous background checks and security measures are in place," they wrote.

Republicans have raised concerns over the administration's ability to vet an increasing the number refugees.

The two lawmakers added on Wednesday that while the United States "is a compassionate country and has a role to play ... we must also ensure that our national security is not compromised in this process."

Democrats have largely backed President Obama's push to accept more refugees while acknowledging that the State Department would need additional funding to help process and vet applicants.

Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahySenate Dems rip GOP on immigration ruling Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate Senate heads toward internet surveillance fight MORE (D-Vt.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Bipartisan gun measure survives test vote Senate Republicans may defy NRA on guns MORE (R-S.C.), who is running for president, have introduced legislation that would give the administration an extra $1 billion in funding.

Lankford and Forbes suggested in their letter that as the administration accepts more refugees it should prioritize religious minorities, such as the Yazidis, that have been targeted by ISIS.

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