Wicker Votes to Advance ‘American SAFE Act’

Miss. Senator Supports Legislation to Suspend Admission of Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today voted to suspend Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States until a more thorough screening process has been implemented. The “American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act,” H.R. 4038, required 60 votes in order to proceed to further consideration by the Senate. Senate Democrats blocked the measure by a vote of 55-43. The House of Representatives passed the measure by a veto-proof margin, 289-137.

“The United States has a very generous refugee policy – if not the most generous in the world – but we need to be sure that those seeking refuge among us do not pose a threat to our nation,” Wicker said. “This legislation would do that by ensuring that the process is not exploited by terrorists and foreign fighters. It is disappointing that the Senate will not have the opportunity to strengthen our nation’s security because of a partisan filibuster orchestrated by Senate Democrats.”

Specifically, the legislation would suspend the admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the FBI director certifies a background investigation of each refugee, and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – along with the FBI director and director of National Intelligence – certifies to Congress that each refugee is not a security threat to the United States. In order to guarantee that high-risk individuals do not slip through the cracks, the DHS inspector general would be required to assess the refugee approvals individually.

Many senior U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have expressed concern that there are gaps in the data used to vet Syrian refugees, vastly decreasing the government’s chances of detecting potential ties to terrorism. H.R. 4038 would put in place the most robust national-security vetting process in history for any refugee population.