(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) released the following statement upon Senate Democrats blocking the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act (SAFE Act). The SAFE Act creates a process to verify the backgrounds of refugees entering the U.S., ensuring they do not have ties to terrorist organizations.
“The facts are clear. As of right now, the federal government does not have complete and adequate safeguards in place to protect Americans here at home as additional Syrian refugees are admitted into the U.S. We need to achieve a higher standard of safety, secure our borders, and keep out all terrorists, and voting in favor of the SAFE Act is a small step in the right direction to do just that,” said Vitter.
In November 2015, Vitter introduced the Syrian Refugee Verification and Safety Act (S.2284), a bill which would halt the influx of all refugees from Syria until proper measures are in place to verify that each refugee is who they claim to be. Click here to read more.
In September 2015, Vitter sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry demanding detailed information on protocols in place to protect Americans and Louisianians from potentially violent Syrian refugees, citing concerns with insufficient federal oversight in relation to Syrian refugees coming to the United States.
The SAFE Act would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to take actions necessary to ensure that refugees entering the United States receives a proper background investigation by implementing the following:
·Requiring background checks on any and all individuals who meet the definition of a “covered alien” status: (1) are a national or resident of Iraq or Syria; (2) have no nationality but whose last known residence was Iraq or Syria; or (3) have visited Iraq or Syria after March, 1 2011;
·Instructing the DHS inspector General to conduct annual risk-based reviews of certifications;
·Requiring DHS to disclose to Congress how many “covered alien” refugees apply for and receive admission into the United States.
The SAFE Act would also require that a refugee only be admitted to the United States after DHS, with concurrence from the FBI and the DNI, certifies to Congress that he or she is not such a threat.