Politics

Congressman: No Confidence In Secret Refugee Screening

BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images

David Krayden Ottawa Bureau Chief

Because of the secrecy surrounding the screening of Syrian refugees, a Republican congressman is asking President-elect Donald Trump to uphold his campaign promise to halt the refugee resettlement program and imploring President Barack Obama to declassify that vetting process.

Republican Wisconsin Rep. Sean Duffy is asking the president-elect to halt refugee resettlement at least until “confidence” in the program is realized.

In a Dec. 21 letter to Trump first obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, Duffy wrote, “Many of my constituents supported your candidacy in part because of your pledge to put a pause on the refugee resettlement program from places with high risks of terrorists until we have the confidence that we can properly screen refugees to determine whether they pose a threat to the United States. Accordingly, I ask that you uphold this campaign promise after you are sworn in as the 45th President on January 20, 2017.”

In the wake of this week’s Berlin terrorist attack — where the chief suspect is a Muslim refugee — Duffy is also demanding from the Obama administration verification that the government’s screening process is sufficiently rigorous to keep terrorists out.

A Dec. 21 letter to President Barack Obama, Duffy highlighted his concerns “about the adequacy of the security vetting standards used by your Administration to ensure that refugees from places with high threats of terrorism — such as Syria — do not pose a risk to the United States.”

Duffy added, “While I appreciate the fact the Administration has offered classified briefings to Members of Congress regarding the vetting procedures used to assess the risks posed by Syrian refugees, this information is not made available to the public who have little confidence that the current screening standards are sufficient. … I ask that you immediately declassify the vetting procedures used to screen potential refugees and provide assurances that new admissions pose no threat to the U.S.”

In May of 2016, the Obama administration announced that it would accelerate the screening process for Syrian refugees, in consideration of the numbers the numbers involved. This decision prompted growing security concerns.

In response to a request for further comment from The Daily Caller Thursday, Duffy said, “President Obama must make the refugee vetting process transparent and public. Currently, it is not. ISIS brags that it exploits refugee programs in Europe, and they can do the same here. I will work with President-elect Trump to create a stringent refugee  screening process that puts the safety of Americans first.”

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