House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said he could not support the administration’s goal of admitting 10,000 new Syrian refugees next year until they can be properly vetted, citing a threat by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I believe [it is] the result of a failed foreign policy in Syria with the inability to remove Assad from power and also the rise of ISIS. That's why these refugees are fleeing.
“And until we address the root cause of the problem there, we are going to continue to have a refugee crisis globally,” he added.
McCaul said he will “take ISIS at its word” after the terror group said it would use the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West.
“That concerns me.”
McCaul said there is not enough intelligence to properly vet Syrian refugees.
“If I could be assured these people could be vetted properly I would be supportive,” he said.
“The problem is the FBI testified before my committee, I've had Homeland Security officials and the intelligence community who all say to me that we don't have the systems in place on the ground in Syria to properly vet these individuals. We don't know who they are.”
“We are a compassionate nation. We have to deal with this crisis,” he said. “But, you know, this is — could be a very reckless and dangerous policy.”
McCaul said he is also concerned about Pope Francis’s visit to the U.S. inspiring lone-wolf attacks.
“The pope is a very — I'm Catholic, by the way — he is a very passionate man. He likes to get out with the people. And with that comes a large security risk,” he said.
“We are monitoring very closely threats against the pope as he comes in to the United States. “