Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement in response to two Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on integrity of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program:

Chairman Goodlatte: “The U.S. government must ensure that those approved for refugee resettlement in the United States are eligible for such protection and do not pose a risk to the safety and security of this country. The House Judiciary Committee requested that the GAO identify ways bad actors could game the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to commit fraud and abuse, as well as identify recommendations for fixing those problems. I am pleased that GAO has completed its work, and I look forward to the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department taking the GAO recommendations seriously. The Committee has incorporated the GAO recommendations into its oversight and legislative work on the refugee program. Most notably, the Committee passed  H.R. 2826, the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act, which contains several anti-fraud and other reforms, as well as provisions requiring the Administration to implement the GAO recommendations outlined in the reports released today.”

Background:

On June 8, 2017, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Raùl Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced H.R. 2826, the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act. The bill was reported favorably out of Committee on June 28, 2017. This bill is intended to help ensure the integrity of the refugee resettlement program, eliminate fraud, and protect national security.

This bill:

  • Requires the implementation of a fraudulent document detection program and a searchable database of documents.
  • Requires federal immigration officers to review publicly available internet postings for refugee applicants
  • Mandates regular security vettings for all refugees until they change their immigration status
  • Requires the GAO to report on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, including the number of refugees convicted of terrorism-related offenses, and the use of federal benefit programs.