GOP Sen.: Limit funding for Syrian refugees in US

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
"Not one dollar should be expended until stringent parameters for vetting these refugees are established," Grassley said.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is persuading his colleagues to limit funding to be sued for bringing refugees from Syria into the United States over security concerns. 

In a letter Grassley sent to Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), he demanded that they impose "firm limits" on allocation of funding for refugee resettlement. 

"I urge that you, as part of the appropriations legislation before the committee, require, as a condition for any funding for refugee resettlement for Syrian refugees, a comprehensive plan on how security will be achieved," Grassley wrote. "Furthermore, not one dollar should be expended until stringent parameters for vetting these refugees are established." 

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011. According to reports, the United States and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the Daesh (ISIL) militants operating inside the country. According to the United Nations, more than 230,000 people have been killed and millions displaced during the past four years.

On September 10, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that President Barack Obama had ordered his administration to prepare to take in at least 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year.

However, Grassley wrote in his letter that "it is imperative that the Executive Branch do everything reasonably within its power to mitigate the extraordinary risk posed by the President’s plan to admit tens of thousands of individuals from the heart of ISIL’s territory."

He is now luring Cochran and Mikulski into including a provision in any spending bill, which would require homeland security and intelligence officials to sign off on the plan to bring in Syrian refugees.

In addition, Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have also rolled out legislation, which would give the Obama administration an extra $1 billion in emergency funding.

Earlier this year, FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that there are "gaps" in the screening process for letting Syrians to come to the US. 

Lawmakers have been grappling with how to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the United States has only accepted 1,500 refugees.

 


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