WESTFIELD, NJ — Democrats in the U.S. Senate have blocked consideration of a bill that would have temporarily paused President Obama’s refugee resettlement program and proposed reforms for what its sponsors called a more effective vetting and monitoring process.
The legislation was approved by the House with a bipartisan veto-proof majority.
The action prompted Rep. Leonard Lance, R-7th to release the following statement:
“I am disappointed Harry Reid and Senate Democrats chose political posturing over adding an additional needed layer of security to our refugee vetting process. We know ISIS terrorists are trying to infiltrate our nation’s immigration system. The House took action and passed a serious bill with a bipartisan veto-proof majority that imposes rigorous vetting and still allows those in need to seek refuge. Yet the Senate decided not even to proceed to debate this issue. This continued gridlock is the reason why I support ending the Senate filibuster,” said Lance, whose congressional district covers several towns in central New Jersey. .
The bill, known as H.R. 4038, would have placed new standards for a proposed Syrian or Iraqi refugee, which are reforms Lance says are overwhelmingly supported by Americans. Lance said that according to the bill:
• The country’s top security officials — the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence — must unanimously certify that the individual does not represent a security threat;
• It directs the FBI to validate that the background checks are thorough enough to keep dangerous individuals out of the country;
• It mandates Congress must receive certifications before admittance;
• And it instructs the DHS Inspector General to assess the refugee approvals independently — making sure that high-risk individuals do not slip through the cracks.