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Cruz and DeSantis Pair on Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act

In a not-so-subtle shot at the national security credibility of Senator Marco Rubio and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06), CHQ’s endorsed candidate in the Florida Senate primary to succeed Rubio, has joined forces with Senator Ted Cruz on the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act. 

First introduced by Cruz in the Senate, DeSantis has now introduced the bill in the House. The legislation prohibits refugees from countries that have significant territory controlled by an organization designated by the Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantisState Department to be a Foreign Terrorist Organization.  The bill specifically names Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen as countries containing terrorist-controlled territory while also giving the State Department authority to identify and designate additional countries. 

The Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act allows for refugees from identified high-risk countries to be admitted under a narrow exception: prospective refugees must prove “clearly and beyond doubt” that they satisfy the requirements for refugee status and are a member of a group that has been designated as a victim of genocide. 

Upon introduction of the bill, Sen. Cruz stated, “After watching the horrific scenes play out in Paris, we have to take basic steps to protect ourselves from the growing threat of radical Islamic terrorism. This legislation will do just that.” 

“As the American people are now painfully aware, ISIS has emerged as the new face of the radical terror that has bedeviled the West in recent decades. Unlike some regional jihadists, ISIS represents a direct and growing threat to our citizens, and increasingly to our homeland itself. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has clearly lacked focus on national security interests. I believe we must do everything we can to prevent even a very few jihadis from slipping into our nation and urge my colleagues to join me in this effort to protect the American people.” The full text of Sen. Cruz’s legislation is available here

Rep. DeSantis said that the bill is necessary in order to strengthen national security and ensure that terrorists cannot exploit the United States’ refugee resettlement program.  

“Congress must take action to secure any vulnerabilities within our refugee resettlement program that terrorists could exploit to harm the American people,” DeSantis said. “Government officials such as the FBI Director acknowledge that they cannot adequately screen refugees from terrorist havens such as Syria and bad actors such as ISIS have already stated their intent to use these programs to infiltrate the United States. The first duty of the United States government is to protect the American people." 

In announcing the House introduction of the bill DeSantis upped the ante by challenging his Democratic opponents to join him in sponsoring the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act. Congressman DeSantis’s bill blocks refugees from coming into America from countries like Somalia, Syria, and Yemen that have significant territory controlled by groups considered terrorist organizations like ISIS. 

“I’m hopeful that Alan Grayson and Patrick Murphy will join me in supporting legislation to protect against the exploitation of the refugee program by terrorists seeking to do harm to Floridians,” said Congressman DeSantis. “ISIS wants to use these programs to sneak militant radical Islamists into our country. I'll be steadfast in defending our security in the U.S. Senate and I’m proud to lead the fight in the House on this important legislation."

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