Friday, November 20, 2015

How AZ Reps voted on Syrian refugee bill

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports on the votes and comments from our Representatives.

Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 4038, the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015.

H.R. 4038, sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), requires increased background screening into refugees or "covered aliens" from Iraq or Syria. "Covered aliens" applies to a refugee who "is a national or resident of Iraq or Syria; has no nationality and whose last habitual residence was in Iraq or Syria; or has been present in Iraq or Syria at any time on or after March 1, 2011," according to the bill.’’

The bill passed 289 to 137, with 47 Democrats in support and two Republicans in opposition, Rep. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Steve King (R-Iowa). The only Arizona Democrat who voted in favor was 9th District Representative Kyrsten Sinema. All of Arizona’s Republican representatives voted in favor of the bill

Here is Ann Kirkpatrick:

"…Some politicians are demanding we close America’s door to Syrian refugees as they flee the brutality of ISIS and the Assad regime. These are families reeling from mass murder, teenage girls escaping sexual slavery, toddlers sleeping in dirty, dangerous encampments. The political discourse – and now legislation – targeting these refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks is truly beneath us."

Here are comments from Raul Grijalva:

"It is a fundamental American value to provide a safe haven for our most vulnerable neighbors. Syrian refugees are fleeing persecution and violence from the very same terrorists that attacked Paris last week. We cannot allow fear-mongering to influence policy that could mean the difference between life and death for these desperate families. We stand proudly against misguided attempts to repeat past mistakes that tarnish our nation’s history.

"This bill diverts resources from where they are really needed by creating an excessive review process that would add years to the resettlement process and prevent thousands of people from getting the protection they need. Our Syrian refugee vetting process is already the most comprehensive in the world, and these changes would stretch the federal government’s limited resources. Closing our doors to Syrian refugees fleeing violence and persecution isn’t just morally wrong; it threatens our national security by fueling the extremist narrative that the West is at war with Islam."

And here are comments from Kyrsten Sinema:

"After recent events, the American people deserve the assurances included in this bill. The Administration should not stop the program; it should certify refugees if they pass a thorough and rigorous screening process.

More work remains to keep our country safe. Threats, like the security gaps in the visa waiver program, remain and require sensible, bipartisan action. I am working on a proposal with both Republicans and Democrats to close this loophole and reduce the threat of terrorists entering the United States from other countries."

You can read more Sinematic comments at Arizona's Politics which also has the on-line copy of the bill.

McSally did not comment. Of course not.

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