GOP worried about 'surge' of Syrian refugee interviews

GOP worried about 'surge' of Syrian refugee interviews
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Senate Republicans are raising concerns that the Obama administration is preparing to interview a "surge" of Syrian refugees, as part of the vetting process to potentially allow some to be admitted into the United States. 
 
A handful of Senate Republicans said Friday that the Judiciary Committee has learned that the administration is sending officials to Jordan to interview thousands of candidates for the U.S. refugee resettlement program. 
 
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"The Administration’s refusal to suspend or even slow the pace of such refugee processing is particularly disturbing when reports abound of [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria] terrorists intentionally inserting themselves into the Syrian refugee stream," the senators wrote in a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerrySenate GOP healthcare plan is the next man-made disaster Changing America: America’s growing education divide Speaker Ryan, the fate of our policy toward Russia rests in your hands MORE
 
The senators added that according to what the committee has been told, the administration is sending between 200-300 officials to Jordan for at least 45 days. 
 
The lawmakers say they are concerned that the move, referred to as the "MARKA surge," is being used to quicken the pace of refugee vetting, which on average takes two years to complete. 
 
The senators are asking Kerry and Johnson for a range of details on the trip, including how many employees will be sent to Jordan, when they will travel to Jordan and how long they will be there, how many refugees will be processed and approximately how much the trip will cost. 
 
The administration's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees has earned fierce pushback from congressional Republicans. They argue that members of terrorist groups can use the program to sneak into the United States and carry out attacks similar to those in Paris late last year. 
 
While Democrats blocked the Senate from taking up legislation to crack down on the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, Republicans have continued to push the administration to temporarily halt the resettlement program until the vetting process can be strengthened to ensure refugees aren't a national security threat. 
 
The letter, which was released Friday, was spearheaded by Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGOP senators want surveillance requests from FBI Russia probe Overnight Cybersecurity: New ransomware attack spreads globally | US pharma giant hit | House intel panel interviews Podesta | US, Kenya deepen cyber partnership GOP chairman wants 'robust' tax reform process in the Senate MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee. Republican Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzKoch-backed group launches new ads on tax reform Healthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want Overnight Healthcare: GOP infighting erupts over bill | How Republican governors could bring down ObamaCare repeal | Schumer asks Trump to meet with Dems MORE (Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin HatchOvernight Regulation: Trump pick would swing labor board to GOP | House panel advances bill to slow ozone regs | Funding bill puts restrictions on financial regulators GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill Overnight Finance: Funding bill puts new restraints on financial regulators | Biz groups worry tax reform slipping | GOP divided over budget strategy MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMike LeeHealthcare wish lists: What moderates, conservatives want GOP infighting erupts over healthcare bill GOP senator on resolving healthcare differences: 'Even porcupines make love' MORE (Utah), David Perdue (Ga.), Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsOvernight Regulation: Trump pick would swing labor board to GOP | House panel advances bill to slow ozone regs | Funding bill puts restrictions on financial regulators Overnight Tech: Trump targets Amazon | DHS opts for tougher screening instead of laptop ban | Dem wants FBI to probe net neutrality comments | Google fine shocks tech DOJ hosts Pride party honoring transgender student from bathroom case MORE (Ala.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry MORE (La.), who are all members of the committee, signed onto the letter.