Republican Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana has introduced a bill in the House which would give Congress authority over refugee caps and allow governors the ability to reject the resettling of foreign nationals in their states.
In a news release on his website published Wednesday, Rosendale said he hopes to challenge the authority of the executive branch to decide the number of refugees settled into the country annually.
If the SECURE America Act were to pass, the executive branch would no longer unilaterally decide who can come into the country for resettlement. It would also have no say regarding where those people are placed.
His bill appears to be a direct response to the Biden administration forcing states to take refugees following the country’s chaotic exit from Afghanistan in August.
“Today, Representative Rosendale introduced the SECURE America Act, in response to the mass resettlement of unvetted Afghan refugees across America and the crisis at the border,” the news release said. “This bill focuses on reforming the United States’ current refugee admission and resettlement process to ensure we take the necessary steps to protect our nation.”
Rosendale said that not only should refugee caps be decided by Congress, but each state should be given a say in where lawmakers decide to send those people.
“This legislation reclaims Congressional authority over our immigration system from the executive branch to set the yearly refugee cap and states that the administration may not admit any refugees until Congress sets the yearly maximum number for refugee admittance,” read the statement. “This bill would also require that Governors receive a 30-day notice from the administration before refugees are set to be resettled in their state.”
The Secure America Act would then give governors the authority to reject placements of refugees through a veto.
In addition to stripping the White House of its authority over the Refugee Resettlement Program, the bill would also require extreme vetting of foreign nationals before they’re ever allowed on U.S. soil.
“Following thorough vetting, an alien may only be admitted as a refugee after the Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of the FBI, and Director of National Intelligence all certify to Congress that the prospective refugee is not a threat to national security,” said Rosendale’s office.
The vetting would not only seek to clear individuals over whether or not they might pose a security risk, but it would also evaluate whether or not they hold values which are contrary to those of most Americans.
“This vetting would include a new screening process established in the bill to evaluate whether these individuals would likely assimilate to our country, by barring those who hold beliefs incompatible with principles of America,” said Rosendale’s office. “Examples include support for imposing laws on America which are adverse to our constitution, or belief in violence based on radical religious teachings.”
Rosendale said the U.S. has accepted unvetted people from 123 countries and claimed this is a “recipe for disaster.”
“We need to know if these people are likely to assimilate and contribute to our country. This legislation would put the proper parameters in place to ensure we do just that,” he said.
The SECURE America Act publicly had the support of many of Rosendale’s fellow GOP House members on Wednesday, including the endorsements of Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas, Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin and Rep. Bill Posey of Florida, to name a few.
“The Biden Administration’s failures on the border and in Afghanistan have jeopardized America’s national security,” said Republican Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana. “We must prioritize the safety and security of the American people, and the SECURE America Act helps achieve that mission.”
“Our bill restores congressional authority over refugee admissions, ensures proper vetting, and ends the Biden Administration’s abuse of parole to release vast numbers of illegal aliens into the U.S. interior,” added Higgins. “I am proud to be a cosponsor, and I thank Representative Rosendale for his leadership on this legislation.”
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