Democratic Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11) issued a statement Thursday opposing controversial legislation that would cease admission of Syrian refugees into the U.S. until a more stringent vetting process is in place.
The bill, which passed by a vote of 289-137 in the House of Representatives Thursday, is a response to the terrorist attacks in Paris last week. Forty-seven Democrats voted in favor of the legislation, but DeSaulnier was not among them.
DeSaulnier’s full statement follows:
“Ensuring the safety and security of our nation and its people is our top priority. As an American with French ancestry, two countries that were founded on the ideals of liberty, I am proud that historically we have been faithful to both.
I stand with the President to enhance our security and to reinforce our values. Today’s political maneuver would undermine these goals and immediately halt refugee admissions from Syria by making the vetting process unnecessarily duplicative and onerous. We currently have a process for admitting refugees that is extensive, selective, and demanding.
Specifically, vetting includes biometric and biographic checks, medical screenings, and interviews. Further, refugees’ applications are scrutinized with criteria specific to circumstances unique to the conflicts in their countries and the region. Multiple federal agencies work together with the United Nations on every U.S. application. With this screening, not a single one of the 2,174 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States since September 11, 2001 has been arrested or deported on terrorism-related grounds.
This bill would do nothing to keep the United States safe, and would hurt refugees who are fleeing the very terrorists we are trying to protect against. As we continue to strengthen our approach to potential threats, we must focus on efforts that do, in fact, provide greater security while standing by the ideals of freedom and compassion upon which our country was built.”