RALEIGH – U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson’s bill, the American SAFE Act of 2015, passed the U.S. House today with a veto-proof majority. The measure would put a temporary hold on any Obama administration plans to admit thousands of refugees from Iraq or Syria until it could assure that no refugees with ties to terrorism would be allowed to seek asylum in the United States.
“This started for me a month ago that when the FBI director testified that they don’t have the resources to vet these Syrian refugees,” said Hudson, the Concord Republican. “We wanted a common sense solution that doesn’t say ‘stop all refugees’ or even ‘not Syrian refugees,’ rather that required we be able to fully vet them. ISIS has already declared that they are going to exploit this refugee crisis, and frankly I take them at their word.”
The strategy and requirements outlined in the legislation (H.R. 4038) received bi-partisan support in the House, passing 289-137 with 47 Democrats breaking ranks and voting for the bill. The measure dos not affect the current refugee program or its funding, but rather requires “that supplemental certifications and background investigations be completed prior to the admission of certain aliens as refugees, and for other purposes. ”
President Obama issued a statement Thursday saying he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
“This legislation would introduce unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism, and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis,” the White House statement read.
“My hope is that the president will change his mind and support this legislation,” said Hudson. “At the end of the day the American people are counting on us to keep them safe and that’s our goal… Our intent is not to stop the flow of refugees, but if we don’t know who they are and we can’t confirm who they are, then I’m not willing to let them in.”
Hudson had already begun working on the legislation when Obama announced plans to accept at least 10,000 refugees from Syria in 2016, after hundreds of thousands flooded Europe this summer. But when terrorists executed coordinated attacks in Paris over the weekend, Hudson’s bill picked up steam and supporters.
“This is no longer just governors urging the president to halt this program,” said North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory. “It is now a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House demanding the president to listen and change course. I applaud Rep. Hudson for leading the charge in Washington to keep our state and nation safe.”
McCrory had already joined 30 other governors in saying they would not take refugees into their states, citing terror concerns. However, the ultimate resettlement location of refugees would be up to the federal government.