Representative Bradley Byrne

Representing the 1st District of Alabama

Byrne: Congress Should Have Input on Syrian Refugees

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Oct 6, 2015
Press Release

Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) today announced his support for legislation that would require Congressional approval before refugees can be brought into the United States.

Congressman Byrne is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3573, the Refugee Resettlement Oversight and Security Act. This legislation would:

  • Require approval from both the House and the Senate before refugees are admitted to the United States;
  • Give Congress the authority to block any inadequate refugee resettlement plan; and
  • Ensure the Department of Homeland Security is working with the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence to screen potential refugees.

Congressman Byrne recently sent a letter to the Department of State asking for detailed information on the screening process for any refugees from Syria. Last week, Congressman Byrne took part in a classified briefing where details about the screening process were discussed. Following the briefing, Congressman Byrne still had serious national security concerns about allowing a mass number of Syrian refugees into the United States.

Byrne said: “After listening to the concerns of my constituents and attending a State Department briefing, I strongly believe Congress should have the ability to block any attempt to bring a large number of Syrian refugees into the United States. There is simply no way to know for sure that terrorist groups, like the Islamic State, are not going to infiltrate the refugee process. The Refugee Resettlement Oversight and Security Act will ensure that Congress, and in turn the American people, have the final say when it comes to increasing the number of refugees.

“We should never compromise our national security, and I fear that allowing a mass influx of Syrian refugees into the United States would do just that.”

Last month, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Obama administration will increase the number of worldwide refugees accepted into the United States to 100,000, which is a significant increase over the current cap of 70,000. The United States is planning to take at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the course of the next year.

Congressman Byrne is not the only one raising national security concerns about Syrian refugees. During a House Armed Services Committee hearing, representatives from the National Counterterrorism Center and the FBI outlined some of the national security challenges the Syrian population presents. Additionally, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently called the migrant issue a “huge concern” and said that “we don’t put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees.”