Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley is questioning an Obama administration proposal to admit thousands of Middle Eastern refugees into the U.S., as the migrant crisis continues in Europe.
Tens of thousands of migrants have fled Syria, Iraq, and other countries, creating havoc as European countries struggle to accommodate them.
The U.S. State Department proposal would lift the overall cap for immigration, including admitting 10-thousand refugees from war-torn Syria.
Grassley says the militant group known as ISIS has admitted plans to use the refugee program to smuggle in spies who would harm the U.S. once they’re here.
“We know that ISIS has very clearly said they want to sneak people into Europe and America as refugees and those people could be coming here to cause damage,” Grassley says. “What are we doing to make sure that doesn't happen?”
He says the State Department should beef up its interrogation of refugees.
“National security is the major issue as far as I’m concerned whether it's Syria or other Middle Eastern countries,” Grassley says, “and also we have this issue is how the administration is planning to pay for this emergency.”
Grassley says the State Department should assign more experienced interrogators to identify migrants who would do the country harm. He says for his constituents, letting one migrant into the U.S. is too many if they’re going to kill Americans.
Grassley also questions whether other Middle Eastern countries are doing their part to admit the migrants.
Grassley’s Judiciary Committee was briefed on the administration’s plans, as required by federal law. The executive branch has the authority to raise immigration caps without approval from Congress.