Cruz introduces bill letting states bar refugees

Cruz introduces bill letting states bar refugees
© Greg Nash

Two Republican lawmakers on Tuesday introduced a measure that would let governors bar refugees from their states. 

The State Refugee Security Act requires the federal government to notify a state at least 21 days before resettling a refugee there. Under the law, governors could block refugees from being resettled in their states unless federal officials can provide “adequate assurance” that the individual doesn’t pose a security threat.

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted PoeLloyd (Ted) Theodore PoeSeven Texas lawmakers leaving Congress means a younger, more diverse delegation Clock ticking down on NSA surveillance powers Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority MORE (R-Texas) reintroduced the bill this week, after initially pushing it late last year in the previous Congress. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is co-sponsoring the measure.

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“The first obligation of the president is to keep this country safe as commander in chief,” Cruz said in a statement. “I am encouraged that, unlike the previous administration, one of President Trump’s top priorities is to defeat radical Islamic terrorism.”

Cruz has long criticized U.S. efforts to resettle Muslims fleeing conflict in Syria and Iraq, arguing that terrorists could use the resettlement program as a sort of Trojan horse to enter the U.S. He has suggested resettling only Christian refugees from the region, arguing that members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria would not try to hide among Christians.

 

Former President Obama resisted that call, saying that it would defy American values to discriminate against certain people based on religion.

 

But President Trump has pushed to end efforts to bring refugees into the U.S., and has called for temporarily banning Muslims from entering the country.

Under the country’s current refugee resettlement program, refugees abroad undergo a rigorous vetting process and typically wait for more than a year before entering the U.S.