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Sen. Cruz and Rep. Poe Move to Protect State Governors’ Right to Refuse Refugees

Reintroduce State Refugee Security Act

January 24, 2017

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), chairman of the House Terrorism Subcommittee, today reintroduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017. This joint Senate-House effort mandates that the federal government notifies a state at least 21 days prior to resettling a refugee there. During that period, if a state governor certifies that the federal government has not provided adequate assurances that the refugee does not present a security risk, the federal government is prohibited from resettling that refugee in the state. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is an original cosponsor of the bill.

“The first obligation of the president is to keep this country safe as commander in chief,” said Sen. Cruz. “I am encouraged that, unlike the previous administration, one of President Trump’s top priorities is to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. To augment the efforts of the new administration, this legislation I have introduced will reinforce the authority of the states and governors to keep their citizens safe. I am honored to work with Rep. Poe on this legislation and I hope that Congress will pass it and send it to the president’s desk.”

“Congress must take action to support states that refuse to participate in the refugee resettlement program because of serious security concerns,” said Rep. Poe. “The Obama Administration’s open door policy has totally disregarded the wishes of state governors who have legitimate security concerns about letting unvetted refugees in their states. Although we expect vetting to increase in the new Administration, states should still have an opt-out if the security of the program is not guaranteed. The reality is that ISIS has vowed to attack America, and we already know that several recent terror attacks in Europe were carried out by individuals who came in disguised as a Syrian refugee. It is dangerous and irresponsible to let thousands of refugees in when even FBI Director Comey admitted we cannot properly vet them. Until the federal government can conduct thorough security screenings and confirm that there are no security risks, Congress should empower states to be able to protect their citizens by refusing to participate in this program.” 

Sen. Cruz and Rep. Poe previously introduced the State Refugee Security Act in the 114th Congress. Full text of the bill can be viewed here

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