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 KerryJohn Kerry to NYU Abu Dhabi: We can't address world problems by 'going it alone' Juan Williams: Trump's dangerous lies on Iran Pompeo: US tried, failed to achieve side deal with European allies 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 GrassleyGOP chairman in talks with 'big pharma' on moving drug pricing bill Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure MORE (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee. Republican Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenators near deal on sexual harassment policy change Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Five Republican run-offs to watch in Texas MORE (Texas), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchCorker turns downs Trump's offer to be ambassador to Australia Democrats urge colleagues to oppose prison reform bill The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate MORE (Utah), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Senate panel advances Trump's CIA nominee Doug Jones to oppose Haspel as CIA chief MORE (Utah), David Perdue (Ga.), Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ, Trump reach deal on expanded Russia review Sally Yates: Trump has taken his ‘assault on the rule of law to a new level’ Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all MORE (Ala.), Thom Tillis (N.C.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterPlanned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? MORE (La.), who are all members of the committee, signed onto the letter.