The Senate’s 2016 foreign aid bill is projected to cut $415 million of the current $3.06 billion provided for Migration and Refugee Assistance, a decrease that could have a critical impact on the United States’ involvement in the European refugee crisis.
As Europe struggles to handle close to 120,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa fleeing high-conflict zones, presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsay Graham is calling for Congress to release emergency funding and take in refugees.
The South Carolina Republican, who serves as the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, said if the U.S. doesn’t increase the number of refugees accepted, it should “take the Statue of Liberty and tear it down … because we don’t mean it anymore,” Roll Call reports.
Graham’s stance appears to be the opposite of Sen. Ted Cruz, his rival in the Republican primary race.
“In terms of settling the migrants, if the ultimate goal is to return them to their homes, which I believe it should be, it doesn’t make sense from a logistical or a security standpoint to move large numbers of them to far-off countries like the United States,” Cruz said in a statement.
Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy is urging the funding be restored for the 2016 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The New York Times reports the Obama administration is considering increasing the amount of Syrian refugees admitted into the country from 1,500 to around 100,000.
Department of State spokesman John Kirby said it is possible some of the refugees could be associated with terrorist organizations.
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