Scott Votes to Ensure Terrorists and Foreign Fighters Don’t Exploit Refugee Program

Washington– U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today voted to enact the strongest national-security vetting process for any refugee population looking to come to the United States by voting for theAmerican Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015. The measure is designed to ensure that federal law enforcement and intelligence officials prevent terrorists from infiltrating the refugee process to gain access to America.

“The United States has long been a safe haven for families and individuals fleeing oppression, war or persecution in their country,” Scott said. “My heart goes out to those displaced because of conflicts like the one in Iraq or Syria. However, our first priority must be for the safety and security of our homeland. Today, the Obama administration’s senior law enforcement and intelligence officials are unable to properly vet individuals applying for refugee status and ensure that applicants pose no threat to our country. Until a fail-safe system is put in place, I believe we must pause the acceptance of refugees.”

TheAmericanSAFE Act of 2015places a moratorium on the admission of refugees until the following conditions are met:

  • The FBI director certifies the background investigation of each refugee.
  • The secretary of Homeland Security, along with the FBI director and the director of National Intelligence, certifies to Congress that each refugee is not a security threat to the U.S.

It also creates an additional layer of protection by requiring the DHS inspector general to independently assess the refugee approvals-making sure that high-risk individuals do not slip through the cracks.

In November 2015, following the terrorist attack on Paris, the measure passed the House by a bipartisan veto-proof margin of 289-137, with forty-seven House Democrats supporting the bill. Cloture on the bill in the Senate failed by a vote of 55-43, as 60 votes were needed. Following the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris, Senator Scott called for theObama administration to suspend plans for admitting Syrian refugees to the United States.