Democrats Block Sen. Cruzs Efforts to Protect Americans from Terrorism
Cruz asks for unanimous consent on common-sense legislation to keep our nation safe
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today requested unanimous consent on his Expatriate Terrorist Act (S. 247) and Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act (S. 2302), both of which would protect the safety and security of the American people. Sen. Cruz’s Expatriate Terrorist Act would adjust existing law to provide that Americans who join forces with terrorists overseas renounce their U.S. citizenship. Additionally, his Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act would immediately bar refugees to the United States from any country, including Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, or Yemen, that contains territory substantially controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, while including exceptions for groups that are victims of genocide.
During Sen. Cruz’s speech on the Senate Floor, he quoted then-Senator Hillary Clinton on legislation virtually identical to the Expatriate Terrorist Act saying, “‘United States citizenship is a privilege. It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers or in this case foreign terrorists are clearly in violation of the oath which they swore when they became citizens.’”
Still, Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blocked both of Sen. Cruz’s common-sense efforts to bolster national security.
Following their objections, Sen. Cruz said, “Unfortunately, the Democratic Party, the Democratic senators in this body have chosen to stand with President Obama and his absurd political correctness, his unwillingness even to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ …ISIS has been plain. They intend to murder as many Americans as possible. They intend to carry out terror attacks like happened in Paris – they intend to carry them out here. This common-sense legislation would have helped protect this nation, but I’m sorry to say the Democratic Party is objecting to it. I believe we should put America first, protecting America first. Unfortunately, my friends on the other side of the aisle are blocking that effort."
The full video of Sen. Cruz’s floor action can be viewed here. Additionally, Sen. Cruz’s transcript is available below:
“Mr. President, moments ago I asked this body to take up and pass two common-sense pieces of legislation in response to the terrorist attack in Paris. The first, the Expatriate Terrorist Act, is legislation that I introduced over a year ago, attempted to pass over a year ago, and that the Democratic Party blocked. That legislation provides that any American citizen who goes and joins ISIS, who takes up arms against America and attempts to wage jihad, by doing so forfeits his or her U.S. citizenship. Existing federal law provides for grounds of revocation of citizenship. This would add joining terrorist groups like ISIS to those grounds.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has just objected to passing that common-sense legislation. As a consequence, because of that objection, it means that the Americans -- and the estimates are it could be up to or over a hundred Americans have gone and joined ISIS right now, are waging jihad against America -- And as a consequence of that objection, it means those ISIS terrorists can come back to America using a U.S. Passport and wage jihad against this country, attempt to murder innocent men and women in this country using a U.S. Passport. That is, I believe, a profound mistake.
“The second legislation that I just asked this body to pass and the Democrats just objected to is legislation that would stop President Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s plan to bring in tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees to the United States. In light of the declaration of war from ISIS, in light of the horrific terrorist attack, in light of the admissions from the Director of the FBI, who I might note President Obama appointed, Director Comey, said the Administration cannot vet these refugees to determine whether or not they are ISIS terrorists. Indeed, he said since they don’t have the data on which of the Syrian refugees are involved with ISIS terrorism, they can query the database, but with no information in the database, they can query over and over again until the cows come home. They don’t have the information.
“Unfortunately, the Democratic Party, the Democratic senators in this body have chosen to stand with President Obama and his absurd political correctness, his unwillingness even to utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ The President refuses to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ Hillary Clinton refuses to say the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ But not only do they refuse to say the words, but they are supporting a policy of bringing tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim refugees into this country knowing full well that we cannot vet them to determine who is coming here to wage jihad. That is a profound threat to this country.
“It is my hope we should stand as one. This ought to be an area of bipartisan agreement. Now, I would note the legislation I introduced includes an exception for persecuted minorities facing genocide, Christians, Yazidis, small minorities that are facing genocide. In response to my acknowledging genocide as a different circumstance, President Obama two days ago in Turkey attacked me directly, said it was un-American to want to protect this country from terrorists and to want to help persecuted Christians.
“Then yesterday, President Obama attacked me again from Manila saying it was offensive that I, and so many millions of other Americans, want to keep our children safe. Mr. President, it is neither un-American nor offensive to believe in Rule of Law, to believe in standing up to radical Islamic terrorism. And it is an astonishing statement that so many Democratic senators choose to stand with a President who will not confront radical Islamic terrorism. Indeed, just this week Secretary Kerry rationalized the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo saying it was understandable why they attacked Charlie Hebdo. We should not be acting as apologists for radical Islamic terrorists.
“The very first obligation of the Commander-in-Chief is to keep this nation safe. And I will say any official that is responsible for bringing people in that they do not know if they are radical Islamic terrorists will bear responsibility for the consequences of their action. ISIS has been plain. They intend to murder as many Americans as possible. They intend to carry out terror attacks like happened in Paris -- they intend to carry them out here. This common-sense legislation would have helped protect this nation, but I’m sorry to say the Democratic Party is objecting to it. I believe we should put America first, protecting America first. Unfortunately, my friends on the other side of the aisle are blocking that effort. Mr. President, I yield the floor.”
“Mr. President, the senator from Vermont spoke against overheated rhetoric, and in the very next breath accused me of being anti-American, echoing the attack President Obama gave standing on the soil of Turkey. Let me say speaking the truth is not terrorism. My Democratic friends invoked their Irish and Italian grandparents. When my Irish and Italian grandparents came to this country, they did not pose a terror threat because they were not seeking to murder innocent citizens. When my Cuban father came as a refugee, he was not a terror threat seeking to murder innocent citizens. And this is an example of the Democratic Party’s refusal to acknowledge the qualitative difference. Perhaps if they cannot see it, they can hear it, because Abu al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, in 2009 the Obama Administration released him. As he was being released, Abu al Baghdadi turned to Army Colonel Kenneth King and said, ‘See you in New York.’
“ISIS intends to murder Americans and if the Democratic Party cannot distinguish between ISIS terrorists and Irish and Italian and Jewish and Cuban immigrants, then they are ignoring reality. I would note that the Expatriate Terrorist Act is very, very similar to legislation that was introduced in 2010 by Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Scott Brown, both of whom apparently under the senator from Vermont’s view are un-American as well. I would note that at the time then-senator Hillary Clinton said about legislation virtually identical to my legislation ‘United States citizenship is a privilege. It is not a right. People who are serving foreign powers or in this case foreign terrorists are clearly in violation of the oath which they swore when they became citizens.’ And yet, President Obama and the senator from New York consider the statement to be un-American.
“It is American to say the Commander-in-Chief should protect the safety and security of the United States. President Hollande has said he would support stripping French citizenship. We should protect ourselves every bit as much as the other nations.”