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The Week Ahead: Fearful of ISIS, panel looks at passport ideas

Lawmakers will turn their attention to preventing members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from using western passports to enter the United States on commercial airline flights when they return to Washington this week.

The House subcommittee on border security will meet on Wednesday to address the terrorism fears in a hearing that is titled “One Flight Away: An Examination of the Threat posed by ISIS Terrorists with Western Passports.” 

Lawmakers have said over the summer that ISIS has thousands of members have U.S. or European passports and could slip into America undetected.

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Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) said it was important for Congress to address the issue quickly upon its return from its traditional August recess. 

“Stepping up its international recruitment efforts, ISIS has successfully enlisted fighters from multiple Western nations, including the U.K., Belgium, France and the U.S.,” Miller said in a statement. 

“Reports indicate that as many as 3,000 of the brutal jihadist militants currently fighting in Iraq and Syria hold European Passports, which allow visa-free travel to the United States,” she continued. “Next week, the Subcommittee will hear from the Department of Homeland Security, specifically Customs and Border Protection, about the current security measures intended to prevent ISIS fighters from traveling to the U.S. to plot or carry out attacks on the Homeland.”

The panel will hear this week from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations Assistant Commissioner John Wagner and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection Customs Intelligence and Investigative Liaison Troy Miller. 

Department of State Deputy Coordinator of Homeland Security and Multilateral Affairs Hillary Batjer Johnson and DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Analysis, Office of Intelligence and Analysis Jenny Lasley are also scheduled to testify. 

Also this week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing about the efficiency of the federal environmental review and permitting process for transportation projects on Tuesday.

Additionally, the panel’s maritime transportation subcommittee will hold a hearing on the “the status of the merchant marine.”