Sen. Cruz introduces the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act
Restricts entry of refugees from countries with active terrorist presence.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015, which will immediately bar refugees to the United States from any country, such as Iraq or Syria, that contains territory substantially controlled by a foreign terrorist organization. The bill sunsets after three years so that Congress can reevaluate the global situation and either let the bill expire or reauthorize it with necessary modifications in light of changed circumstances.
Upon introduction of the bill, Sen. Cruz stated, “After watching the horrific scenes play out in Paris, we have to take basic steps to protect ourselves from the growing threat of radical Islamic terrorism. This legislation will do just that.”
“As the American people are now painfully aware, ISIS has emerged as the new face of the radical terror that has bedeviled the West in recent decades. Unlike some regional jihadists, ISIS represents a direct and growing threat to our citizens, and increasingly to our homeland itself. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has clearly lacked focus on national security interests. I believe we must do everything we can to prevent even a very few jihadis from slipping into our nation and urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to protect the American people.”
The full text of Sen. Cruz’s legislation is available here. Find more information on this measure below:
The Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015 immediately bars any refugee who is “a national of, has habitually resided in, or is claiming refugee status due to events in” any country that contains territory controlled in substantial part by a Foreign Terrorist Organization, as designated by the State Department. The bill specifically names Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, and the State Department is empowered to identify and designate additional countries.
The bill sunsets after three years so that Congress can reevaluate the global situation and either let the bill expire or reauthorize it with necessary modifications in light of changed circumstances.
The bill includes one narrow exception to this ban: A refugee from one of the identified high-risk countries can be admitted, but only if the prospective refugee proves “clearly and beyond doubt” that he or she satisfies the requirements for refugee status and is a member of a group that has been designated as a victim of genocide by the State Department or by Act of Congress. This exception is for the severest cases of persecution, and a refugee who cannot prove membership in the group cannot be admitted. Also, the Secretary of State may refuse to designate a group for this exception if the Secretary finds that the group may pose a substantial security threat to the United States.
Even then, a refugee who qualifies for this narrow exception can only be admitted if he or she has undergone the highest available level of security screening, including assessments by the FBI Terrorist Screening Center and the National Counterterrorism Center; the refugee has been subjected to full multi-modal biometrics; and perhaps most importantly, the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Homeland Security, Director of the FBI, and Director of National Intelligence all certify that the refugee is not a national security threat.
The bill also mandates that the Secretary of Homeland Security may not admit any refugee based solely on the assertions of the refugee. DHS cannot simply take the refugee’s word for it. Instead, the bill requires DHS to coordinate with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Director of National Intelligence to ensure that the refugee’s story is corroborated.