Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Votes to Freeze Syrian Refugee Program

Nov 19, 2015
Press Release
SAFE Act Requires Iron-Clad Screening Process “The Safety of Americans Comes FIRST!!!”

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, voted today to stop the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States until an iron-clad screening process is developed, saying “the safety of Americans comes first.”

The SAFE Act, passed by the U.S. House 289-137, requires the FBI director, the secretary of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence to personally certify that each and every refugee from Syria and Iraq is not a security threat.

“We cannot gamble with our national security and risk the lives of Americans on an imperfect refugee screening process,” Buchanan said, noting that one of the terrorists behind the Paris massacre entered France disguised as a refugee.

On Monday, Buchanan was one of the first members of Congress to call for a moratorium on accepting Syrian refugees into the U.S., sending a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately halt the program.

Buchanan said he was disappointed to hear the President threaten to veto the SAFE Act, a threat he said made no sense in light of the constitutional mandate that the President and Congress defend the homeland from attack.

FBI Director James Comey recently testified that “gaps” remain in our country's ability to screen refugees due to a lack of intelligence on the ground in Syria. “There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” Comey said.

Just today, the press reported that eight Syrians attempted to enter the U.S. illegally via Mexico, and the government of Honduras detained several more Syrians who were headed to America using stolen Greek passports.

“Radical Islam is waging war against America and Western civilization," Buchanan said. "We cannot allow terrorists to seep through a porous refugee screening process to kill Americans."

Top national security officials from the FBI, Homeland Security (DHS), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have all said publicly that we lack adequate information needed to determine that Syrian refugees are not security threats, Buchanan noted, adding the SAFE Act will halt refugee admissions until that situation changes.