Senators: ISIS fighters posing as migrants could slip into US
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A group of senators is pushing the Obama administration to double down on the vetting of refugees, amid plans to accept at least 10,000 Syrians into the United States. 

Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinBiden's elitist work-family policy won't work for most families The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Upbeat jobs data, relaxed COVID-19 restrictions offer rosier US picture Manchin on collision course with Warren, Sanders MORE (D-W.Va.), Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push Biden pitches infrastructure plan in red state Louisiana House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE (R-W.Va.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkDuckworth announces reelection bid Brave new world: Why we need a Senate Human Rights Commission  Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (R-Ill.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push Biden visits local Mexican restaurant to highlight relief program Pelosi slams McCarthy for promoting COVID-19 relief provision MORE (R-Miss.) sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryChina emitted more greenhouse gasses than US, developed world combined in 2019: analysis Overnight Energy: Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process| EPA official directs agency to ramp up enforcement in overburdened communities | Meet Flint prosecutor Kym Worthy Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process MORE on Thursday.  


"We must be aware that terrorist organizations like ISIL will try and take advantage of the situation," they wrote in their letter. "Under no circumstances should your agencies sacrifice the thoroughness of the security vetting process in order to admit a certain number of refugees."

The senators in the letter ask for Johnson and Kerry to hand over their plans for how they will ensure members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) aren't able to come to the United States under the guise of being Syrian refugees. 

Their letter comes after White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the administration would accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees during the 2016 fiscal year, which starts next month. 

The senators add that they support the administration's "efforts in providing assistance" to Syrian refugees, calling the United States a "compassionate country" with a "role to play in alleviating the suffering of people caught up in this tragedy."

Their letter to the pair of top administration officials underscores the quagmire Congress faces on the Syrian refugee crisis. While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are tentatively backing accepting more refugees from the war-torn country, they're also scarce on the details and have concerns about national security.

The senators said that while the vetting process can take between 18 and 24 months — requiring the involvement of a handful of agencies including the DHS, the FBI and the Pentagon — the various background checks and investigations "should absolutely not be cut short in an effort to try and accommodate more refugees than the process can safely handle." 

Democratic Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyUS, Iran signal possible breakthroughs in nuke talks Democrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (Conn.) has called for Congress to pass an emergency spending bill that would help the State Department cover the extra costs of vetting the additional Syrian refugees.