National Security

GOP senator: Restrict funding for Syrian refugees in US

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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is asking his colleagues to restrict funding for bringing Syrian refugees into the United States until the administration hands over a plan to address security concerns. 
 
Grassley sent a letter to Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) asking that they place “firm limits” on funding for refugee resettlement. 
 
{mosads}”I urge that you, as part of the appropriations legislation before the committee, require, as a condition for any funding for refugee resettlement for Syrian refugees, a comprehensive plan on how security will be achieved,” he wrote. “Furthermore, not one dollar should be expended until stringent parameters for vetting these refugees are established.” 
 
Grassley’s letter comes as lawmakers face a mid-December deadline to pass government funding bills. Separately, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have rolled out legislation giving the administration an extra $1 billion in emergency funding. 
 
The Iowa Republican asks Cochran and Mikulski to include a provision in any spending bill requiring homeland security and intelligence officials to sign off on the plan to bring in refugees.
 
FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers earlier this year that there are “gaps” in the screening process for bringing Syrians into the United States. 
 
“There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” he told members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 
 
Lawmakers have grappled with how to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis and the administration’s plan to increase the number of refugees it will accept per year. 
 
Republicans have raised concerns over bringing additional Syrian refugees into the United States, warning that members of terrorist groups, including the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), could try to sneak into the country disguised as refugees. 
 
Grassley doubled down on that concern, saying that ISIS will use “whatever means necessary” to harm the United States. 
 
“The Islamic State will undoubtedly seek to leverage the anonymity of blending in amongst the thousands of people fleeing from their violence,” he added in his letter.
 
“With such a determined enemy, it is imperative that the Executive Branch do everything reasonably within its power to mitigate the extraordinary risk posed by the President’s plan to admit tens of thousands of individuals from the heart of ISIL’s territory,” Grassley wrote, using an alternative acronym for the extremist group.
Tags Barbara Mikulski Chuck Grassley Lindsey Graham Patrick Leahy Thad Cochran

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