Press Releases

Rep. Roybal-Allard Statement on Refugee Legislation

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Washington, November 19, 2015 | Ben Soskin ((202) 225-1766) | comments
Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement about H.R. 4038, a bill to amend the U.S. refugee admission process:

“I stand in strong solidarity with our brothers and sisters in France.  I join them in their grief over the tragic events of November 13, I keep them in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope that their healing will soon begin.

“In the wake of the heinous attacks in Paris and across the world, I stand in strong opposition to H.R. 4038, the so-called American SAFE Act.  As the Ranking Member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, my top priority is to keep the American people safe.  Toward that end, our nation’s current review system for refugees is extensive and rigorous.  Refugees are required to wait overseas for at least 18 to 24 months before they can be admitted into our country, and they enter only if they meet all vetting requirements.  The current process checks biographical and biometric data against law enforcement and intelligence databases, and there is no waiver for any part of the process. 

“H.R. 4038 seeks to exploit the understandable fear that some Americans feel by effectively shutting down the refugee resettlement program for Syrian and Iraqi nationals, possibly for years, until a new vetting process is established.  The passage of this bill will effectively close our doors to people seeking refuge from barbaric attacks like those that were committed in Paris.

“I support looking for ways to strengthen the screening process our nation currently has in place.  However, strengthening our refugee screening process does not mean we must turn our back on some of the globe’s most vulnerable people, especially women and children.  That would go against our American values and weaken our standing among our allies.  This includes France, which, in spite of the horrors it experienced in Paris, has pledged to take in 30,000 refugees.

“The United States has been built by people of many nations, races, and faiths, who fled hunger and persecution in search of a better life in America.  We have a long history of welcoming the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  For centuries, America has been a beacon of light and hope for those in need.  Let us not dim that light in the face of fear.  Let us not block the refuge that our nation can provide to the men, women, and children who suffer at the hands of extremist regimes.  Let us embrace the maxim that our French brothers and sisters have shared with the world, one that exemplifies three universal values of humanity: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”

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