WASHINGTON, D.C—Today, Congressman Ted Poe, Chairman of the Terrorism Subcommittee, introduced H.R. 4197, the State Refugee Security Act of 2015, the companion bill to Senator Ted Cruz’s legislation (S. 2363). This joint Senate-House effort follows Poe’s work on H.R. 4032, introduced on November 17, which would protect states’ rights to refuse to participate in the federal refugee resettlement program.
“Congress must take immediate action to support those 31 states that have refused to participate in the refugee resettlement program because of serious security concerns,” said Poe. “The reality is that ISIS has vowed to attack America, and we already know that at least one of the Paris attackers came to Europe disguised as a Syrian refugee. It is dangerous and irresponsible to let thousands of refugees in when FBI Director Comey admitted we cannot properly vet them. Until the federal government can conduct thorough security screenings and confirm that there are no security risks, Congress should empower states to be able to protect their citizens by refusing to participate in this program.”
Under H.R. 4197 and S. 2363, the federal government is required to notify a state at least 21 days prior to resettling a refugee there. During that period, if a state governor certifies that the federal government has not provided adequate assurances that the refugee does not present a security risk, the federal government is prohibited from resettling that refugee in the state.
"I applaud Rep. Poe for introducing a companion bill in the House to the legislation I introduced yesterday, which will protect the authority of the states and authority of the governors to keep their citizens safe,” Sen. Cruz said. “Rep. Poe shares my concern that ISIS and radical Islamic terrorists have declared war on America, even if President Obama refuses to admit it, Sen. Cruz said. “As elected officials tasked with upholding the Constitution, it is imperative that we do everything we can to ensure the safety of America and its citizens."
H.R. 4197 has 30 original cosponsors, including: Rep. Blake Farenthold (TX-27), Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-4), Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-9), Rep. Doug Collins (GA-9), Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-5), Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36), Rep. Jody Hice (GA-10), Rod Blum (IA-1), Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32), Rep. Ryan Zinke (MT-00), Rep. Joe Barton (TX-6), Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3), Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (OK-1), Rep. Ralph Abraham (LA-5), Rep. Michael Burgess (TX-26), Rep. Steve King (IA-4), Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14), Rep. Barry Loudermilk (GA-11), Rep. Walter Jones (NC-3), Rep. John Culberson (TX-7), Rep. Andy Harris (MD-1), Rep. Mike Conaway (TX-11), Rep. Gary Palmer (AL-6), Rep. John Carter (TX-31), Rep. Bill Posey (FL-8), and Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17).