Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement after meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry and learning that the Obama Administration plans to set the refugee ceiling for Fiscal Year 2017 at 110,000 and bring in more Syrian refugees this coming year:

“Every year it becomes increasingly clear that our nation’s refugee resettlement program is in need of reform. For generations, the United States has been a safe haven for people fleeing persecution. We must remain compassionate toward refugees but we also need to make sure that we use commonsense. Unfortunately, President Obama unilaterally increases the number of refugees resettled in the United States each year and gives little thought as to how it will impact local communities. The President also continues to ignore warnings from his own national security officials and plans to bring in even more Syrian refugees over the next year. 

“The House Judiciary Committee has approved the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act to make meaningful reforms that curb fraud, strengthen national security and public safety, and restore integrity to the program. The bill sets the annual refugee resettlement ceiling so that the People’s duly elected representatives in Congress, not the President, decide what that number should be. It also empowers state and local governments to decide whether or not refugee resettlement is best for their communities. Given that the Obama Administration continues to tune out the American people’s concerns on this issue, it’s time for Congress to take up this legislation so that the refugee program works in their best interest.” 

Background:

  • In March 2016, the House Judiciary Committee approvedthe Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (H.R. 4731). This bill, authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Vice Chairman Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte, reforms the refugee program by curbing fraud and strengthening public safety and national security. It also provides state and local governments the power to decide if refugees are to be resettled within their communities and gives Congress, not the President, the authority to set the overall refugee ceiling for each year.
  • In November 2015, the House passedthe American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015. The 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. Senate Democrats blocked it from passing.

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