Senator Calls for Ban on Syrian Refugees Into United States

Syrian refugees sleep on a railway platform in Croatia / AP
November 16, 2015

A leading senator and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee has called on the Obama administration to halt the entrance of all Syrian refugees into the United States in the wake of a terror attack in France that killed more than 130 people, according to a statement issued Monday afternoon.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, called for a total halt in the acceptance of Syrian refugees until the State Department creates a system to vet the individuals for terror ties.

"In light of the attacks in Paris, I call on the Obama administration to put a pause in accepting Syrians as refugees into the United States until Congress can review and conduct appropriate oversight of the State Department’s vetting process," Inhofe said in a statement.

"Accepting refugees is an important and historical practice of our nation, but the Syrian refugee situation is atypical due to ISIS’s attempts to exploit the crisis and concerns over the validity of Syrian passports," Inhofe said. "We saw this danger first hand with Ahmad Al Mohammad who participated in the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and whose passport and fingerprints matched a person who passed through Greece as a Syrian refugee."

The Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris, has vowed to launch more strikes against the United States and other nations. Lawmakers such as Inhofe fear that terror-linked individuals could slip into the U.S. amid the massive wave of immigration.

 "With ISIS releasing a video on Monday vowing its next attacks on America, this is clearly not a time for the Obama administration to increase, much less expedite, refugees being brought to our soil," Inhofe said. "As the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, ‘We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees.’"

"Furthermore, the Obama administration must better secure our dangerously porous borders," the senator continued. "One ISIS terrorist entering our country—through whatever means—will enable that cancer to grow and will directly threaten our homeland and its people."

Inhofe sent a letter to President Barack Obama in September demanding a more robust vetting system for Syrian refugees.