National Security & Defense

Judiciary Chairs: ISIS Will Exploit Obama’s Refugee Policy

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Mark Wilson/Getty)

President Obama is welcoming Syrian refugees to the United States without a plan to prevent ISIS terrorists from coming along with them, top House and Senate Republicans warn.

Secretary of State John Kerry and other State Department officials have been briefing the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on the administration’s plans to start accepting thousands of Syrian refugees into the U.S. The news has not reassured congressional Republicans.

“ISIS and other terrorist groups have made it abundantly clear that they will use the refugee crisis to try to enter the United States,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, who chair the committees, said in a Sunday statement. “Now, the Obama administration wants to bring in an additional 10,000 Syrians without a concrete and foolproof plan to ensure that terrorists won’t be able to enter the country.”

During a private congressional briefing two weeks ago, Kerry acknowledged that he was worried about the threat of terrorists taking advantage of the new policy to slip into the U.S. “The State Department indicated to me that we’re not really able to vet Middle Eastern applicants now, and if we increase that number that we’ll be even less able to do so,” Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) told National Review after attending the briefing. “You can’t do an FBI background check [on such applicants]. They don’t have that kind of technology.”

Kerry told reporters Sunday that the United States will accept 85,000 refugees worldwide next year, and “at least 10,000″ from Syria specifically, which alarmed the lawmakers.

“The administration has essentially given the American people a ‘trust me,’” Goodlatte and Grassley said. “That isn’t good enough.”

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— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.

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