Featured Issue: Syrian Refugee Crisis

Currently, millions of Syrian refugees are seeking protection from violence, persecution, and similar horrors that unfolded on the streets of Paris. The United States has committed to increase the overall total of refugees to 85,000 in FY2016, with at least 10,000 Syrian refugees, and to 100,000 in FY2017. According to the U.N., more than half of all Syrian refugees are children.

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks on November 13, 2015, some lawmakers and governors issued kneejerk responses that would limit or ban Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States. Within a week following the attacks, House members introduced and passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015 (H.R. 4038), which would halt the refugee resettlement program for Iraqis and Syrians. On January 20, 2016, the Senate rejected the motion to proceed with H.R. 4038 by a vote of 55 to 43. AILA opposed H.R. 4038, and encouraged House and Senate members to vote "no."

AILA commends Congress for putting forward an omnibus appropriations bill that rejected all such efforts to restrict the U.S. refugee program. The security of our country and its residents is paramount; but we must have a measured and focused response to address the root cause. Refugees are not to blame.

America must continue to be a global humanitarian leader and protect refugees from every part of the world. Refugees currently undergo the most rigorous security screening process of anyone who comes to the United States.


AILA Response to Paris Attacks and Backlash Against Syrian Refugees


General Opposition to Proposed Legislation Against Syrian Refugees


Governors and Lawmaker Backlash Against Syrian Refugees

On 3/14/16, Representatives Raul Labrador (R-ID) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) introduce H.R. 4731: Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016, which would drastically reduce and cap refugee admissions in the United States. Two days after the bill was introduced, the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill to go to the House floor.

On 1/20/16, the Senate blocked H.R. 4038: American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015 from moving forward. The bill, which would halt the refugee resettlement program for Iraqis and Syrians, passed the House last November.


Refugee Resettlement Process Backgrounder

The United States handpicks the refugees who resettle here, and they go through multiple layers of security checks involving the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies, making them the most thoroughly vetted group of people who come to the United States. These checks typically require from 2-3 years before the refugee is cleared and can be brought to the U.S.