Republican lawmakers are pushing the administration on its vetting of Syrian refugees amid plans to increase the number accepted into the United States each year.
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesDaschle Group hires first GOP lobbyist Overnight Defense: US sanctions NATO ally Turkey over Russian defense system | Veterans groups, top Democrats call for Wilkie's resignation | Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon board Gingrich, other Trump loyalists named to Pentagon advisory panel MORE (R-Va.) sent a letter Wednesday to Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryClimate policies propel a growing dysfunction of Western democracies Kerry calls out countries that need to 'step up' on climate change Those on the front lines of climate change should be empowered to be central to its solution MORE and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson warning that fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could try to sneak into the U.S. disguised as refugees.
"We must be aware that groups like ISIS will infiltrate refugee camps and try to seek admittance into the United States. As you move forward with the process of admitting more refugees into this country, it is critical that rigorous background checks and security measures are in place," they wrote.
Republicans have raised concerns over the administration's ability to vet an increasing the number refugees.
The two lawmakers added on Wednesday that while the United States "is a compassionate country and has a role to play ... we must also ensure that our national security is not compromised in this process."
Democrats have largely backed President Obama's push to accept more refugees while acknowledging that the State Department would need additional funding to help process and vet applicants.
Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (D-Vt.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE (R-S.C.), who is running for president, have introduced legislation that would give the administration an extra $1 billion in funding.
Lankford and Forbes suggested in their letter that as the administration accepts more refugees it should prioritize religious minorities, such as the Yazidis, that have been targeted by ISIS.