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 Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee. Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong This week: Congress gets ball rolling on tax reform Week ahead: Senators work toward deal to fix ObamaCare markets MORE (Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP eyes limits on investor tax break Children’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeWhatever you think the Alabama special election means, you’re probably wrong How the effort to replace ObamaCare failed Overnight Regulation: Trump temporarily lifts Jones Act for Puerto Rico | Bill would exempt some banks from Dodd-Frank | Senators unveil driverless car bill MORE (Utah), David Perdue (Ga.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE (Ala.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and David VitterDavid VitterYou're fired! Why it's time to ditch the Fed's community banker seat Overnight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator MORE (La.), who are all members of the committee, signed onto the letter.