Rep. Lipinski Statement on American SAFE Act Vote

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) released the following statement after voting to require new screening requirements on refugees from Syria and Iraq before they can enter the United States:

The United States has historically been a refuge for those who are fleeing war and violence, and we must remain so.  But the November 13th Paris terrorist attacks once again demonstrate that America must constantly work to reassess and strengthen our national security.  

Some have said our response to the attacks should be simply to close our country off to everyone.  I don’t support that.  But after listening to top American security officials, I believe there is more we can do to make sure that we are not permitting people who are threats to our nation to enter as refugees. 

While most of those seeking asylum in the United States are well-meaning families, children, and women fleeing the horrific war and terrorism in Syria, Iraq, and the surrounding countries, we need to have the highest level of certainty that no threats to the U.S. from ISIL or other groups enter under the cover of refugee status.  The FBI, DHS, intelligence agencies, and others have been undertaking a lengthy vetting process for those who are being let in.  But I think it will help strengthen our security to require extra steps to be taken to assure the concurrence of all intelligence and security agencies before allowing any Syrian or Iraqi refugee entrance into our country.

This does not mean that we should turn our backs on all those refugees who are suffering.  It is a horrific situation in Syria and Iraq, including groups such as ISIL committing genocide.  The United States has been very generous and should continue to be generous in our financial support and other humanitarian assistance that we are providing to support refugees in camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon.  I also believe there is more we could do to help end the wars in Syria and Iraq that would help alleviate the refugee crisis.  American leadership is critical to ending the immense suffering that is ongoing in the region. 

As the crisis continues and we examine our refugee policy, security for America must be paramount and we cannot afford the risk of another terrorist attack here in the United States.  We must maintain American security so that we can remain that shining city on the hill. 

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