Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Smith: Terrorists Have Succeeded in Exploiting Our Refugee System

Jan 8, 2016
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today responded to reports that two Iraqi refugees have been arrested this week in Texas and California for actions aiding terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State.  

Congressman Lamar Smith: “It is disturbing, though not surprising, that terrorists have succeeded in exploiting our refugee system to come to the U.S. and aid ISIS. These groups have been open about their intentions to infiltrate the tens of thousands of Middle East refugees this administration is determined to bring to our shores. Even worse, this president’s response to acts of terror like the San Bernardino shooting is to punish law-abiding Americans and endorse gun control measures. It is time to stop treating terrorists like citizens and citizens like terrorists. This president’s unwillingness to confront the real security threats we face is nothing short of dangerous. This week’s arrests in Houston and California are more reasons we should temporarily halt all admission and resettlement of refugees until we can verify that every single ‘gap’ in our security screening has been addressed. This is also why I support the right of governors, like Governor Abbott, to protect citizens by refusing to allow the federal government to resettle refugees in states like Texas.”

In December, Smith joined Texas Representative Ted Poe and Senator Ted Cruz in introducing the State Refugee Security Act of 2015, legislation to protect states’ rights to refuse to participate in the federal refugee resettlement program. Smith also joined fellow Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Lou Barletta (R-Penn.), and Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) in introducing legislation that would halt and defund all refugee admission and resettlement until reports on the safety, costs, and history of terrorism among refugees have been submitted to Congress. Congress would also be required to pass a joint resolution in order to re-start the program.