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Kaine Statement on Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees, released the following statement today:

“The horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut last week - and a direct threat to Washington soon after - are a grim reminder that ISIL is not going away. Our national security and the safety of the American people will always be my top priority, and I continue to believe a Congressional vote to authorize the U.S. mission against ISIL would speak volumes – both to our enemies, as well as those we have deployed overseas to fight against them.

“And of course we must have the toughest screening process possible in terms of refugees coming here.  But I worry that calls to end or pause our refugee resettlement program are misguided. The fact is that refugees are currently subject to the absolute highest level of security checks of any category of traveler coming to the U.S. - with special criteria in place for those coming from Syria on top of the normal procedures. Getting admitted as a refugee generally takes more than a year and a half and involves signoff from numerous agencies including the National Counterterrorism Center, the CIA, the FBI, Homeland Security, the State Department and the Department of Defense.

“Bottom line – it’s not easy to come into our country as a refugee, at all. But the notion of ‘no Syrian can ever come here’ is antithetical to our values – especially when the innocent civilians and families seeking refuge in our country are fleeing the very violence and terror we saw in France and Lebanon that they experience every day in Syria.”