Maloney statement on American SAFE Act of 2015
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today released the following statement on H.R. 4038, which would divert resources from effective and existing refugee security screening procedures. Maloney voted against the legislation:
“There are many ways to enter the United States, and the most scrutinized and difficult way is as a refugee. It currently takes 18 to 24 months for a refugee to complete the screening process and enter the United States. According to the White House, the current screening process involves multiple Federal intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, including the National Counterterrorism Center, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS), State, and Defense, all aimed at ensuring that those admitted do not pose a threat to our country. Refugees are identified using biometrics and biographic checks, medical screenings, and a lengthy interview by specially trained DHS officers who scrutinize each individual seeking refugee status.
“The new requirements set forth by the so-called American SAFE Act would be untenable, and would create new bureaucratic obstacles, forcing security professionals to waste time and energy on new, ineffective methods instead of improving existing screening processes that have a proven track record. Now is not the time to experiment with our security. We must allow our security and intelligence professionals to do their jobs.
“Throughout the past few years we have watched in horror as children were lined up and mowed down with machine guns, as entire villages were gassed to death, as young girls were trafficked, sold and murdered as sex-slaves, and as thousands were decapitated by ISIS. The vast majority of refugees seeking asylum in our country are women, children, the elderly and religious and ethnic minorities who face persecution or death in their homelands.
“As a resident of New York City on 9/11, who has spent a decade working to make our country more secure and take care of those injured in the aftermath, I am keenly aware that we must do everything possible to protect our country. Instead of passing a bill with unproven and damaging refugee screening procedures that could end up serving as a recruiting tool for our enemies, we should reinforce our screening system by requiring DHS to verify the identity of all refugees and having multiple national security agencies check refugee applications against their databases, while staying true to our values and maintaining our commitment to refugee protection. The American SAFE Act harms, rather than strengthens, our refugee screening procedures, which is why I voted against this legislation.”