December 30, 2015

TRUMP’S IDEAS: FROM CRAZY TO POLICY IN JUST A MONTH. GOP moves to pause refugee acceptance over background checks.

A group of Senate Republicans wants to largely pause the acceptance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees until the administration meets a wide-range of hurdles aimed at bolstering background checks.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has introduced legislation that would block the administration from accepting or resettling the refugees until the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Director of National Intelligence have determiend that each refugee has passed a background check ensuring that they aren’t a national security threat and haven’t supported a terrorist organization.

Kirk also wants the DHS inspector general and the comptroller general of the United States to, separately, review the certifications and give their findings to Congress. and for DHS to give a quarterly report to Congress on the number of refugees who tried to enter the United States and how many were given certifications.

Kirk’s legislation—which is backed by five other Senate Republicans—comes after an end-of-year spending bill didn’t address the refugee issue. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has pledged to move legislation on the refugee acceptance program during the first quarter of next year, though it’s unclear what proposal he would have the Senate take up.

Kirk’s legislation would also require the FBI, the DHS and the Director of National Intelligence to clarify within six months how the administration plans to enhance its screening for refugee applicants, including reviewing social media. He also wants to know if any changes were made after two al-Qaeda supporters entered the United States in 2009 as Iraqi refugees.

Stay tuned.

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