Rep. Brat: Syrian Refugees Have Not Been Vetted for National Security

By Jose R. Gonzalez | April 11, 2016 | 4:45 PM EDT

Syrians entering a refugee center in Serbia. (AP FIle photo)

 

(CNSNews.com) -- Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) says that “a gaping hole in our national security apparatus” means that Syrian refugees “have not been vetted” before they are resettled in the United States.

“Of course the major problem there is that they have not been vetted in terms of national security,” Brat told CNSNews.com. “We just want to [send a] message to the American people that the issue has not yet been resolved."

“ISIS has made it very clear in their documents that their intent and their goal is to bring radicalized folks from around the world in through the southern border and to use the refugee program to do so,” Brat warned.

“And so when your enemy tells you what their plan is in writing, it seems that at a minimum we should be vetting folks.

"And so we’re asking the American people to weigh in to their leaders to make sure that we don’t let this go unnoticed,” he told CNSNews.

Brat said he is currently working on a bill that aims to cut off potential terrorists before they gain entry to the U.S.  

In September, Obama announced that the U.S. would accept 10,000 refugees from Syria’s now five-year-long civil war. 

However, two months later, a forged Syrian refugee passport was linked to a suicide bomber in the Nov. 13, 2015 Paris terror attacks which killed at least 130 people, including one American. The attacks were perpetrated by a European cell of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).   

The first of the Syrian refugees have begun to make their way to the U.S. in what the Obama administration has described as a “surge operation” to speed up the refugee resettlement process from the usual 18-to-24 months to just three months.

CNSNews has reported that of the 1,075 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. since the Paris terror attack last November, 1,070 are Muslims and just four are Christians.

Last summer, Brat, a first-term congressman who beat former House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the GOP’s 2014 primary, co-sponsored the ‘‘Resettlement Accountability National Security Act of 2015.’’

That bill, introduced by Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), called for a moratorium on admitting refugees pending a Government Accountability Office report to Congress on how many refugees already in the country are receiving welfare benefits.

According to a February 20 report published by the nonpartisan National Conference of State Legislatures, the federal government budgets $582 million annually to resettle refugees in the U.S.

However, the Babin bill failed to make it to the House floor for a vote. Brat said he and Babin are now crafting a separate bill to “stop the refugee inflow from terrorist hotspots.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. (AP photo)

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that ISIS was “taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow.”

The radical Islamic group is “pretty skilled at phony passports, so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers,” Clapper testified February 9 on Capitol Hill. adding that "there is no risk-free process."

Following the Paris terror attacks last November, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) introduced the “American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015.”

The bill, which passed in the House but was voted down in the Senate, required that the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence would have to declare that each potential entrant was not a security threat before they would be admitted to the U.S.

Brat described these measures as “a very reasonable, rational request" while lamenting the outcome. “At negotiating time, we did not put that in the budget, and you have a gaping hole in the national security apparatus as a result,” he pointed out.

In hypothesizing about Obama’s decision-making on the refugee issue, Brat drew from his own background as a college economics professor.

“I think at the end of seven years, people are finally seeing that we’re dealing with an executive who declares that American values are those that are usually associated with a very liberal faculty lounge on the utopian view,” he said.  

“Even if his intentions are good, any rational person who sits down to discuss this would have to agree that at a minimum, a nation state [should proceed]... in vetting folks who are coming into our land from terrorist hotspots from around the globe.”

Obama “has just been very stubborn,” Brat asserted when CNSNews asked him about the president’s insistence on continuing with the Syrian refugee resettlement program despite the fact that administration officials admit the refugees are not being adequately vetted.  

“So why is our president going forward with unconstitutional decrees? I don’t know. You have to be fairly cynical and you just say he thinks he should have almost monopoly power in the executive branch, and so I think we have a major problem on our hands,” he concluded.  

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