Sen. Mark Kirk’s (R., Ill.) campaign blasted the federal vetting system for Middle Eastern refugees on Friday after two Iraqi immigrants were hit with terrorism related charges.
The senator also took aim at Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat who is running for Senate against Kirk, over her comment that she is "confident" in the current screening system.
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The two Iraqi men facing charges immigrated to the United States in 2009 and 2012, prior to the current debate over whether the United States should take in a greater number of Syrian refugees. Kirk suggested that the incident highlights the flaws in the federal refugee screening program.
"Rep. Duckworth has continuously expressed confidence in a vetting system that not only has failed in the past but continues to fail to this day," said Kirk’s campaign manager Kevil Artl in a statement on Friday. "Unfortunately, Rep. Duckworth's confidence of this vetting system, which is not shared by our nation’s lead security officers nor scores of Democrat members of Congress, is reckless and wrong."
"In contrast Senator Kirk is leading the way for comprehensive reform legislation with his Defend America Act, that implements common-sense reforms to improve the security of our screening process," added Artl.
Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, of Houston, and Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab of Sacramento are reportedly facing two separate but similar charges of assisting overseas terrorist organizations. There is no indication that either was involved in actively planning attacks on the United States, according to reports.
Duckworth has said she supports allowing up to 200,000 Syrian refugees into the United States. Kirk opposes allowing in new refugees until the screening process is reformed and there is "100 percent assurance" that terrorists are not entering the United States through the program.