Washington, D.C.  – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement on the arrest of two refugees from Iraq for allegedly attempting to provide material support to ISIS and for lying to U.S. immigration officials about their alleged ties to terrorist organizations.  

Chairman Goodlatte: “I commend our nation’s law enforcement for identifying and apprehending these terrorists and protecting the American people from the harm they could have caused. The fact that these terrorists entered the United States through the refugee system once again underscores the need to continually reassess the security procedures used to vet foreign nationals seeking to come here. Terrorists adapt and evolve and we must also in order to thwart their evil plots.

“Additionally, these arrests should cause President Obama to hit pause on his naïve plan to usher in thousands of refugees from Iraq and Syria over the coming year. The House passed a targeted bill to require comprehensive background checks of every refugee from Iraq or Syria before they can be admitted into the United States, yet the President issued a veto threat of this commonsense legislation.  

“The primary duty of the federal government is to keep Americans safe. The House Judiciary Committee is working on several bills to strengthen our immigration programs and enhance national security, including stronger vetting of visa applicants and all refugees. We plan to introduce these bills over the coming weeks.”  

Background: In November 2015, the House of Representatives 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. The White House threatened to veto this legislation.