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Larson on the Secure Refugee Process Act

November 19, 2015
Press Release

Washington – Today, Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) released the following statement after voting against the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038):

“Today I voted for the Democratic alternative – the Secure Refugee Process Act– that in addition to the current rigorous screening process, would require the identity verification of all refugee applicants (not just those from Syria). Any application containing insufficient or unreliable information would be denied,” said Larson. “In addition, it requires confirmation from five different federal agencies that an individual is not a threat to national security, and additional Inspector General and Congressional oversight. The safety and security of the American people is paramount. We should be working in a bipartisan manner to identify and address any risks that pose a threat to national security, not rush to the floor with a bill that could effectively put a pause on any Syrian refugees coming to the U.S.

“I commend Governor Malloy for his courageous stance in welcoming the family of three—including their five year-old-child—in Connecticut when Indiana turned them away. That is the real American spirit. Barring innocent people—many of whom are women and children—from entering the country does not help us defeat ISIL. In fact, it could help with their recruitment. Our primary objective right now needs to be building a coalition with our allies, including countries in the Middle East, many of whom have felt the horror of ISIL’s attacks firsthand. We cannot defeat ISIL alone, nor should we try. We cannot allow fear to eclipse our longstanding tradition of sheltering those in need. When we overreact, we play into the hands of cowards whose only aim is to terrorize and slay innocent people.

“This approach should involve a multipronged strategy that looks at some of the gaps in the visa waiver program that Senators Murphy, Corker and Burr have identified, and include Rep. Peter King’s bill that would bar anyone on the Terrorist Watch List from purchasing a firearm. It should also involve the commonsense approach that we took with the Democratic alternative today. 

“It is my hope that in the coming weeks we can pull together and develop an approach that strengthens our common position against ISIL and addresses any security gaps, without further punishing the victims of violence and persecution.”