WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) issued the following statement on the passage of the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016. The legislation passed out the Judiciary Committee and will be heading to the House floor. Included in the bill is an amendment offered by Congressman Poe that would give governors the right to refuse unvetted refugees or those whom the federal government failed to notify the states about. From 2010-2015, Texas accepted 41,647 refugees, which is significantly more than any other state in the union accepted during the same time period.  

The Poe Amendment mirrors H.R. 4197, the State Refugee Security Act that Congressman Poe and Senator Ted Cruz introduced in December with Texas Governor Abbott’s support. It would require that the Office of Refugee Resettlement give states 21 days notice of the placement of refugees and also provide certification that the refugees do not present a security threat to the state.  If those requirements are not met, the governor of the individual state can refuse settlement of that group of refugees.  

“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.”