Rep. Gene Green Statement on American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act
"This week, the United States Senate moved to consider H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act. The bill was passed out of the House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote which included the entire political spectrum. There has been some misinformation about the content of the bill, so I’d like to take a moment and clarify the issue.
"In September, the President answered calls to reform our national refugee policy and increase the rate of acceptance and the number of refugees from Syria and Iraq. The President, recognizing that many of those seeking protection were women and children, authorized the acceptance of an additional 10,000 refugees in 2016. I support the President’s actions because I believe, as a nation of immigrants and refugees, we have a historic commitment to honor. As the guarantor of freedom and democracy, the United States has a humanitarian responsibility to those seeking shelter within our borders.
"After the terrorist attacks which took place in Paris, I voted for the SAFE Act to address national security shortcomings in our refugee policy. The legislation would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to certify that each individual present in Syria and Iraq from 2011 forward received a security threat screening before admission to the United States. Currently, there are approximately six federal agencies involved in screening individuals traveling from Syria and Iraq to the United States. After a careful review of the legislation and hearing from national security leaders and White House officials in a classified briefing, it was my view that an additional layer of certification would not prohibit refugees from entering our country or create significant new delays to a process that currently takes 18-24 months.
"In the wake of the atrocities and violence in Paris, and more recently, the individuals arrested in California and Houston, I continue to support additional coordination and resources for our federal agencies to continue safeguarding our citizens. As the pace of refugee admission increases, these protocols and processes will remain an important safety measures moving forward."