Monday, November 30, 2015
Hartzler: Obama threat to veto SAFE Act is irresponsible
With Paris still reeling from the Islamic State massacre that claimed more than 120 innocent lives, other parts of Europe on alert for possible further acts of terrorism, the west African nation of Mali recovering from an Islamic State act of terrorism, and our State Department issuing a worldwide travel advisory for Americans, it is clear that terrorism remains a threat to people all over the globe. With this reality in mind, I believe the U.S. House was prudent in passing the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act.
The SAFE Act places on hold the Syrian refugee resettlement program until the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have the information needed to determine that any Syrian and Iraqi refugee coming to our shores is NOT a security threat. It requires security officials to certify that each refugee, before being admitted, has NO ties to the terrorism that is threatening countries around the globe.
This common sense legislation, passed overwhelmingly by the House with 47 Democrats in support, still requires Senate and White House approval. Given this fact, it is extremely disturbing and discomforting that Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid has threatened a filibuster to prevent an up or down vote on this plan to protect our homeland. It is even more disturbing and even alarming that President Obama has vowed to veto this bill should it get to his desk.
This irresponsible action flies in the face of concerns expressed by the President’s own Homeland Security Secretary who has stated his department is unable to appropriately vet the individuals seeking to be allowed into our country. To open our doors to people, without first determining whether they might have ties to terrorism, is unwise and extremely troubling.
Our country has, for a long time, welcomed refugees and it is not the intention of the SAFE Act to turn away persecuted and oppressed people. Our country will continue support the Syrian refugees by continuing to send medicine, food, and supplies. To date, America has sent over $4.1 billion worth of aid to support them. This will continue. The SAFE Act does, however, address the reality of a high terror threat environment and allows U.S. authorities to do what is necessary to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the good will and generosity of the American people to slip in and do our country harm. Failure to grasp the reality of the current situation and to embrace life-saving options is simply irresponsible. It is incumbent on Congress and the President to work together to protect our homeland and our citizens.