Congress votes for the American SAFE Act, but is it really safe?

Americans counting on the GOP to stem the pending flood of Syrian/Iraqi refugees to the US with the House passage of H.R. 4038 can sleep well tonight – wait, not so fast! The latest reactive attempt to blunt President Obama’s wish to shelter Muslim refugees from Syria is the American SAFE Act of 2015 authored by Congressmen Mike McCaul (R-TX) and Richard Hudson (R-NC) and strongly endorsed by new Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). The SAFE Act essentially broadens President powers by giving Obama unilateral authority to determine the number, location, and benefits the US will offer predominantly Syria Muslim refugees relocated in the US.

Yesterday, by a 289-137 vote, the House approved the Bill to ostensibly strengthen the screening process for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. If the large margin holds it provides a veto-proof majority with 47 Democrats, defying the White House by voting with Republicans.

Despite behind closed-door wrangling, Department of Homeland Secretary, Jeh Johnson, said the SAFE Act only micro manages the vetting process, something DHS could not support. Meanwhile, at the FBI, Director James Comey weighed in and echoed Johnson’s concerns saying it was unreasonable to think he would have to personally sign off on each refugee seeking shelter in the US.

Anti-illegal immigration hawk, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said in a statement, “Ignoring this reality, the American SAFE Act allows the President to continue to bring in as many refugees as he wants from anywhere in the world. With respect to Syria and Iraq, the American SAFE Act requires only that the President direct his Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of National Intelligence, and FBI Director (all his appointees) to sign off on the administration’s screening process – a process that the White House continually asserts is adequate and ‘ensures safety.’ The plain fact is that this bill transfers the prerogative from Congress to President Obama and ensures the President’s refugee resettlement initiative will continue unabated.”

So far 31 governors have filed suit to block the President from relocating refugees in their states. “We’re not going to accept any more refugees from this dangerous zone of Syria into the state of Texas,” Gov. Greg Abbott said on Fox News. While the governors may have good intentions the fact remains that federal law makes it tough for any state to refuse Syrian immigrants.

However, weighing heavily on the minds of governors’ is a report that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents detained eight Syrians who tried to enter the US from Mexico. DHS issued a statement confirming the incident and said the Syrian families were taken into custody. Breitbart Texas can confirm that a Syrian did attempt to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas in late September. The Syrian was caught using a passport that belonged to someone else and U.S. authorities decided against prosecuting anyone involved due to “circumstances.”

Aside from the obvious security risks, Senator Sessions calculated the cost to US taxpayers for the proposed House measure. “There is only one true check now against the President going it alone: Congressional funding. In his annual budget request, the President asked for more than $1 billion to fund the Refugee Admissions Program. All Congress has to do is make clear that the President’s funding request will not be granted unless he meets certain necessary Congressional requirements – the first of which should be to make clear that Congress, not the President, has the final say on how many refugees are brought into the United States and from where.”

“The House plan does not offset a single penny of increased refugee resettlement costs,” Sessions explained. “As currently structured, the House plan would give the President the money he wants for refugee resettlement and then leave taxpayers on the hook now and in the years to come for the tens of billions of dollars in uncapped welfare, education, and entitlement costs certain to accrue. Thus, in addition to the enormous welfare costs – 91 percent of recent Middle Eastern refugees are on food stamps and 73 percent receive free healthcare – we will also be taking money directly from Americans’ Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds to provide retirement benefits for refugees.”

The Senator referred to a recent analysis of the proposed cost to taxpayers of $6.5 billion to resettle 10,000 refugees in the United States. That number increases exponentially under President Obama’s plan to admit 85,000 refugees this fiscal year. If the refugee program is realized, taxpayers will spend an estimated $55 billion to take care of the resettled Muslim migrants.

Session also suggested that taxpayers would fare much better if the President simply created the so-called safe zones in the Middle East. For “(T)he cost of resettling one refugee in America, we could successfully resettle 12 refugees in the region. Creating safe-zones in Syria and the region is a vastly more effective and compassionate strategy.”

The safe-zones would lighten the FBI caseload. Currently FBI leader Comey confirmed the FBI has 1,000 open Islamic State investigations in all 50 states.

For the moment the Democrat narrative, according to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (she voted against the Bill) said Americans couldn’t turn away women, children and seniors, leaving out men. This comes with another set of problems, like who’s going to take care of these refugees? The children don’t speak English and will require schooling with Arabic interpreters. The seniors will require substantial medical care from a program already operating in the negative. Why doesn’t the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, China, or Qatar take them?

But data shows women are also adept at the suicide bomber phenomenon. According to the Associated Press, “during Israel’s 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon that ended in 2000, several women belonging to leftist groups blew themselves up targeting Israeli forces.”

Taking offense to President Obama’s besmirching comments in Asia was Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) who said Obama’s mocking assertion that cautioned Republicans over accepting thousands of Syrian refugees is about being “scared of widows and orphans. The president says we are scared of widows and orphans,” chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, said. “With all due respect to him, what I’m really afraid of is a foreign policy that creates more widows and orphans. So maybe where he ought to start is a foreign policy in the Middle East and Syria where people can go back to their homelands, which is their preference. Maybe you ought to defeat that JV team you thought you had contained. That would be the very best thing you could do to help people aspire to a better life,” Gowdy finished.

And recent polling suggests Americans are on Gowdy’s side. Rasmussen Reports, states Americans disagree with President Obama’s Syrian refugees program.

“Sixty percent of likely US voters oppose the settling of Syrian refugees in the state where they live. Just 28 percent favor their state taking in those refugees. Eleven percent are undecided. (view survey click here.)

Backing up the survey is the Clarion Project, a US think tank, highlighted the safety factor for the American people. “A new bipartisan congressional terrorism report found there isn’t a global comprehensive database of foreign jihadists who have gone to Syria to fight. It says the US doesn’t even have a national strategy against terrorist travel and ‘information about foreign fighters is crossing borders less quickly than the extremists themselves.’” NPR also pointed out that there are numerous intelligence concerns and that there is a more general lack of intelligence with the Syrian databases.

This is the same president that overruled American public opinion to stay-out of Syria, but his redline calling for the removal of Assad has caused five years of war, millions of refugees, the rise of ISIS, and the uncontrolled migration to Europe; the same President that supported the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi with a $3 billion gift (Hillary Clinton personally delivered the check); the same president that overthrew President Ali Abdullah Sala’ah in Yemen sparking another civil war in the region and an opening for ISIS and Iran to vie for control in Yemen.

Plus the Obama administration has refused to cooperate with Russia against ISIS: a spat that dates back to the overthrow of Libya’s dictator Muammar Qadaffi leaving a power vacuum so large that Libya is no longer a functioning nation, but it has become a jihadi playground and another ground zero for terrorism.

Nevertheless there is plenty of blame to distribute. Take for example that Congress has a knack for naming bills that suggest they are looking after Americans. The USA Patriot Act introduced metadata collection and warrantless searches; the USA Freedom Act was advertised as a reining-in of the Patriot Act, but all it did was legalize telephone company cooperation with warrantless searches; and now, the SAFE Act aka, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015. Sessions said the bill intened to hold the president’s feet to the fire of refugee immigration, but in fact transfers all authority and funding to the White House, which, incidentally, just issued a new Twitter #hashtag welcoming Syrian refugees to the US.

Read Part one:

Part three tomorrow- KD



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