Washington, D.C.  – The House of Representatives today approved by a vote of 289-137 the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038). This bill requires comprehensive background checks of every refugee from Iraq or Syria before they can be admitted into the United States and certification that each does not pose a threat. Since the House Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction of our nation’s immigration laws, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) managed the debate time for H.R. 4038. 

Chairman Goodlatte issued the following statement praising passage of the bill:

“While the United States already has the most generous refugee policies in the world, we must ensure that those seeking refuge in the United States do not pose national security threats to our nation. Top national security officials within the Obama Administration have repeatedly warned that the U.S. government does not have the resources and dramatically lacks the information needed to fully vet refugees from Syria. ISIS also has vowed to use the refugee system to enter Western countries. Despite these warnings and the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama continues to move forward with his plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees into the United States over the coming year. 

“The primary duty of the federal government is to keep Americans safe, and it has become clear that we need to hit pause on the President’s plan. TheAmerican SAFE Act takes an important step toward strengthening the vetting process for the refugee program. I urge the Senate to take this bill up and send it to the President’s desk so that we can send the strong message that Americans do not support his plan.”

Earlier today, the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee held a hearing on “The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Its Impact on the Security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.”

In October, Chairman Goodlatte called on President Obama to rescind his directive to Secretary Kerry to usher in thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States. Previously, FBI Director Comey testified before the House Judiciary Committee that the government dramatically lacks the resources to fully vet Syrian refugees.