Carper Statement on Executive Order to Block Refugee Resettlement, Suspend Entry of Immigrants from Muslim Majority Countries

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement about President Trump’s executive order to block refugees from Syria and suspend entry of immigrants from Muslim majority countries.

“Today, President Trump took executive action to deny refuge to thousands of Syrians seeking asylum from the hellacious conditions of civil war. The order also temporarily bans immigrants from several Muslim majority countries from entering the United States. I believe these actions wrongly vilify a group of people on the basis of their religion and nationality, and jeopardize our nation’s ability to lead the world with moral clarity.

“Under the carefully considered refugee screening process put in place under the previous administration, refugees seeking asylum in the United States are already subjected to a rigorous and lengthy vetting process. This includes multiple assessments, first starting at the United Nations to winnow down the pool of refugees. Once the pool is narrowed, U.S. officials conduct extensive vetting based on biometric data, criminal history checks and screening against terrorist databases, as well as a face-to-face interview and health screening. All this happens well before any of these applicants ever set foot on U.S. soil. On average, this process takes a year and a half. That’s a long time to wait and a lot of hurdles that a member of ISIS would have to clear if they were going to try to use the refugee program to get to the United States.

“The best way to combat the global threat of ISIS is to continue to degrade and destroy their forces overseas, rob them of their safe haven and hollow out their recruitment narrative that ‘ISIS is on the rise.’ We can fortify our refugee and immigrant vetting process and keep Americans safe without categorically denying safe haven for those who need our help the most—and today’s action sadly does not meet that test.”