Slaughter Statement on Addressing Syrian Humanitarian Crisis, Strengthening Our National Security
WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Louise Slaughter today supported an effort to address the growing humanitarian crisis posed by Syrian refugees while strengthening our efforts to combat the ISIS terror threat. The vote on the bill came a day after the House Rules Committee convened an emergency meeting to consider the legislation and the United States’ response to the terror attacks in Paris. In that meeting, Rep. Slaughter used her position as the Ranking Member of the Rules Committee to push for an alternative to the Republican proposal—one that would improve screening of refugees while working to ease the humanitarian crisis that is spreading throughout the region—but the proposal was defeated on a party-line vote. Rep. Slaughter also attended a classified briefing on Tuesday in which she received an intelligence update on the humanitarian and security situation from the FBI Director, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
After today’s vote, Rep. Slaughter released the following statement:
“I join people around the world in condemning and mourning the senseless loss of life in Paris and Beirut. These horrific attacks have understandably left so many of us with a great sense of fear for the safety of our families and loved ones.
“Upon entering Congress, all members take an oath to protect our country from enemies foreign and domestic, and we will remain resolute in keeping the security of our nation as our top priority. As we deal with an unprecedented threat of terrorism and a growing refugee crisis, we must redouble our efforts to keep our country safe and ensure we address the humanitarian emergency in a secure and effective manner.
“Our vetting process is rigorous and lengthy, usually taking from 18 to 24 months, but must be updated to deal with emerging threats. This bill is a first step in modernizing our ability to respond to humanitarian emergencies, but it cannot be our last. America is a country of refugees and closing the door to those who have survived violence and torture would reverse centuries of American tradition. Our response to this crisis must protect our homeland while also defending the ideals that define us as a people.”
Congresswoman Slaughter has worked for years as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to advance comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental, and military cooperation across Europe.