WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on Wednesday’s procedural vote against “the SAFE Act” (H.R. 4038), which disguises a de facto ban on U.S. acceptance of refugees in a new screening process that is unrealistic and unworkable.
“The safety of our country, our national security, is my top priority as a U.S. Senator. Congress has a knack for introducing legislation that falls well short of aspirational titles. The SAFE Act is one such piece of legislation. It ignores the undisputed truth that the world is facing the worst refugee crisis in the last half-century. As a nation of immigrants, the United States must remain as committed to aiding the unprecedented number of people fleeing conflict zones as we do to helping restore stability to those regions.
“Refugees are the most rigorously screened group of people entering the United States. The average time for this vetting process is 18-24 months. This Republican scheme is nothing more than an attempt to effectively bar all refugees from Iraq and Syria from entering the country. Effectively shutting down our refugee program and turning away those fleeing violence plays into the hands of ISIS and create another recruiting tool for terrorists. This is not who we are as a nation. Embracing fear, ignoring reality and attempting to score political points is no way to make our country safer. Let’s work together on constructive ideas that can truly make a difference and not simply shut down a system that is working.”