November 19, 2015
Contact: Dan Weber
Edwards Statement on Republican Bill to Ban Settlement of Syrian and Iraqi Refugees
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) issued the following statement regarding H.R. 4038, the American SAFE Act of 2015.  The bill would effectively stop any further Syrian and Iraqi refugees from coming to the United States by creating a new certification process that would require years to be implemented as this legislation is written.  The legislation passed 289-137.
“The American people and the world continue to mourn the tragic loss of life over the past several weeks at the hands of ISIS.  The brutal attacks in Paris, the bombings in Beirut, and the downing of a Russian airliner are all sobering reminders of the savagery and threat posed by ISIS.  Without question, we as Members of Congress and the entire federal government will take every action possible and necessary to counter this threat at home and abroad.
“However, today’s Republican legislation to effectively ban any further Syrian and Iraqi refugees from seeking safety in the United States will not increase our security.  Under current law, any refugee seeking asylum must undergo one of the most comprehensive background checks in the world before ever setting foot on American soil, with the process often taking between 18 and 24 months to complete.  This knee-jerk reaction that would punish mostly women, children, and seniors seeking safety from the brutality of ISIS is a betrayal of American values.
“We must remember the enemy is ISIS, not the refugees who are fleeing the region. I believe strongly that as Americans we cannot deny people shelter and safety based on stereotyping and xenophobia; it runs counter to who we are as a nation.  We have the ability and the resources to welcome refugees, while taking all necessary steps to ensure our own security at the same time. It is what we have done and what we will continue to do.”