House Votes to Require Syrian, Iraqi Refugees Be Certified as Non-Threats to National Security

American SAFE Act passed with bipartisan support



The House of Representative passed, by a vote of 289-137, the American Safety Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act. Nearly 50 Democrats joined Republicans in supporting the bill despite lobbying by the Obama administration described as "too in the weeds" for a "toxic" issue.

The SAFE Act requires refugees from Iraq or Syria, or who had been there at any point since March 1, 2011, to undergo a "thorough background investigation" from the FBI and be certified by the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI director, and the director of national intelligence as "not a threat to the security of the United States," before being admitted into the country. It also requires the DHS to report monthly on how many covered aliens are certified, as well as a risk assessment conducted by the DHS Inspector General on the certifications granted.

"If you look at the bill, it's hard to see how it's as awful as the administration is portraying it as," Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) told Politico.

Two Republicans voted against the bill, Walter Jones (NC), who has called to defund the "Middle Eastern refugee resettlement program" in the next government spending bill, and Steve King (IA). Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, pledged to keep the House bill from reaching President Obama's desk. He said in a press conference he had not "read the House language." The entire bill is less than 600 words long, with fewer than 400 words that could be construed as the "language." Democrats may insist they want the U.S. to accept Syrian refugees, defaulting to partisanship suggests otherwise.

There are just 44 Democrats in the Senate, with sixty votes generally enough to get a bill through the Senate. The presumptive Democratic leader after Reid retires, Chuck Schumer (NY), has said a "pause" in the resettlement of Syrian refugees may be necessary, echoing comments made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY).

The bill does not cover refugees from other countries with active ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliates, although if it's considered by the Senate, there will almost certainly be attempts to amend it. The White House threatened to veto it as early as yesterday, before its passage by the House, calling the requirements in it "unnecessary and impractical" but not explaining why.

NEXT: Al-Hayat's Editor Calls for War on ISIS

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  1. It’s impractical because they are all too inept to execute the bill’s requirements.

    1. If that were a consideration there would be no bills, ever.

      1. I’d vote for a no bills ever bill.

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    2. Which is the precise point, in this case. It looks like we’re being nice by actually meaning to let them in but the bureaucratic snags of doing background checks of thousands of third-worlders will ensure that few actually make it.

  2. We don’t have enough investigators to do a thorough vetting of both foreign refugees and domestic rightwing militias. Let’s be reasonable. Just attach the words “tea party” to any Syrian’s name you want checked out and let the IRS have at them.

      1. You think those guys would lie and say they are from Mexico or Canada. Unless you’re in a database they can’t prove where you belong to deport you there, and if they deport you to Mexico or Canada it’s pretty simple to get back over the border.

      2. But Trump wants to deport 11 million Mexican Catholics and you are ecstatic.

        1. Well we need to get the refugees here before we can deport them. Order of operations.

      3. If this part of the article is accurate, I find it difficult to sympathize with these particular Christians:

        “The Iraqi Christians told US officials that they were fleeing persecution at home. However, most had already been granted safe haven by Germany, Sweden and other European countries before coming to America.”

        1. At some point, of course, Sweden and Germany will no longer be safe for Christians. But at present, they’re perfectly acceptable places to live if you’re fleeing persecution.

          1. Not unless you want to homeschool.

            1. Sigh… ignore the double negative.

              Not if you want to homeschool.

              1. I stand corrected.

          2. America is rapidly becoming unsafe for Christians. Obama certainly hates them.

        2. Pretty sure that anyone applying here has other options. If this is good enough to kick people out, why not cut out the middleman and just not admit them in the first place?

          1. Exactly – first check to see if they’ve been in a country which recognizes the rights of genuine refugees. If yes, tell them to [bleep] off.

            1. I think even Mexico has a semi-decent refugee record.

    1. Let the record show that you were out-fisted.

  3. Seems like this is a do nothing bill. It can be pretty much interpreted into a rubber stamp with two seconds of work. No wonder the Dems signed on.

    1. but Harry Reid and Barack Obama are still against it

  4. Require their hands to be encased in Lucite blocks. That’ll keep ’em from being able to do anything.

    1. And no, I’m not a lobbyist for Big Acrylic.

      1. “And no, I’m not a lobbyist for Big Acrylic.”

        You’re a lobbyist for Big Solvent aren’t you. Sneaky.

    2. +1 Skwisgar Skwigelf Advanced Fast Hand Finger Wizard Master Class

  5. And while I’m at it, I have a solution for the Syrian refugee issue. For every Syrian refugee we take in, we send back a college social justice warrior. The Syrians will probably appreciate what they have here while the SJWs can go create their safe spaces in Aleppo and Homs. Everyone wins.

    1. If we must bring in refugees, then here’s another idea along those same lines. For every soldier that the US government brings home permanently, we can take in a refugee. So if we close bases in Germany and bring home 5,000 military, then we can let in 5,000 refugees. In this way, we accomplish what we want… bring our troops home so that we aren’t the policemen of the world, fighting and creating mortal enemies along the way, and at the same time reduce expenditures on defense to cover the costs of bringing in refugees…

      1. “If we must bring in refugees…”


  6. Penn Jillette had the solution for this. At every port of entry you have a naked man, naked woman, and a plate of bacon. All the refugees have to do to get in is to lightly kiss the genital of the opposite sex, eat a tiny piece of bacon and voila! Home free.

    Penn & Teller 2016!

    1. *Crusty furiously applies to be the naked man*

      1. I’m not good enough to be bacon?

        1. Few of us are, man.

          1. Porque?

            1. Hey Swiss, what’s the verdict on bilingual puns?

              1. Guessing a narrow glaze…

    2. Why do they hate homosexuals?

  7. Johnson and Comey refusing to “certify” these refugees is about as clearcut an example of “I’m a bureaucratic official…you don’t actually expect me to be responsible for something” as you can get.

  8. This should apply to Somalis, too. But it’s still stupid. How do we do a “thorough background investigation”? Call up Assad in Damascus and ask for the records on tens of thousands of people who have fled his hellhole? Yeah, that’ll work. Heck, about a third of “Syrian refugees” aren’t even from Syria. All so that we can have a bunch of uneducated welfare cases who hate Jews and gays. Wonderful.

    Obama and Hillary are going to the wall on this, and it seems politically suicidal. Most Americans don’t want Syrian refugees. And Obama and Hillary are also talking up gun control again, another widely unpopular position. All it will take is one major (or a couple of minor) terror attacks in the US, and Trump gets elected in a landslide. He’s very flawed from my point of view, but he’s closer to sane about illegal immigration and Muslim refugees than are the GOP establishment or the libertarian dogmatists.

    1. Hitler in 33, Trump in 16. Why not? People turn to ‘strongmen’ in times of crisis and confusion. Obama and Bush assured us of that.

      1. I am having some cognitive dissonance having Obama and strongman in the same sentence.

        1. I’ve just been triggered.

    2. How do we do a “thorough background investigation”?

      We can’t. So the vast majority of any “refugees” we admit will be under-vetted, at least.

      1. And everyone who voted for this bill knows that. The whole thing is a sham. Everyone calls the Republicans the stupid party and the Democrats the evil party. Here at least, the roles are reversed. The Democrats are fucking retarded. There is no upside to this for them. Either nothing bad happens and everyone forgets about it or something bad does happen and the Democratic brand is ruined for a generation. The Republicans are at least smart enough to understand how stupid this is. The problem is they are so fucking craven and evil they are letting it happen because they figure the Democrats will get blamed for it.

      2. Obama’s presidency can be summed up with the title “Beta males gone wild”.

    3. Am I the only one who thinks the point of this is to make it bureaucratically impossible to bring in Syrian refugees?

  9. So the Democrats think this bill Goes Too Far, so instead they want the Attorney General, acting on his own opinion about who’s a terrorist, to ban people from buying or selling guns?

    1. The Immigration bill goes too far, the Gun Control Bill doesn’t go too far enough!

    2. I mean, Obama’s DA’s have a pretty good record at selling guns don’t they?

      *cough Fast and Furious *cough

  10. Why hasn’t anybody said “pants shitting” yet?


    2. Because the coprophilic Epi hasn’t shown up. I really wonder about his obsession with that term.

      1. That dumbfuck Trueman hasn’t show yet either.

    3. Straw men will be erected. They will be panted. There will be shitting. AND STOP FREAKING OUT YOU XENOPHOBIC MONSTER AND BE REASONABLE!!!

  11. Good. Now that that’s settled we can move on to something constructive.

    1. We’re not going to build that.

  12. I’m a little disappointed in the commentariat.

    Our compadre Auric is raising money (voluntarily!), and has asked us to help. As of now, he’s less than 1/5 of the way to his goal.…..afId=88766

    Help a brother out, already!


    1. Apparently the commentariat is put off by hard work and determination.

      1. Well yeah…

      2. I’d respond to this…but meh.

    2. You are right. I am a Goldwater fan so….when I get home tonight I will toss him a few bucks.

    3. I would but the threat of an idiotic AG saying I can’t buy any more guns has me allocating my money elsewhere.

    4. I gave. But the fuckers wouldn’t let me give a second gift of $1.09 from Navin R Johnson.

      That’s bullshit.

  13. The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens against all travel to Syria and strongly recommends that U.S. citizens remaining in Syria depart immediately. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated March 3, 2015, to remind U.S. citizens that the security situation remains dangerous and unpredictable as a violent conflict between government and armed anti-government groups continues throughout the country, along with an increased risk of kidnappings, bombings, murder, and terrorism.

    . . . .

    There is a terrorist threat from violent extremist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL), formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQ), the al-Nusrah Front, and others. Tactics for these groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices in major city centers, including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted for kidnapping, both for ransom and political purposes, and murdered by members of terrorist and violent extremist groups in Syria.

    —-U.S. Department of State travel warning…..rning.html

    That’s the same Department of State that says bringing Syrians here to the U.S. is NOT a security risk.

    1. Well, yeah, they’re bad when they’re in Syria. Honestly, who wouldn’t be pretty cranky if they were stuck there.

      Get ’em here, put ’em up in a nice apartment with cable and a 50″ TV, and next thing you know they’ll be model citizens.

      1. Oh yeah because living in the West is known to totally get Muslims to give up their radical beliefs.

      2. I’m sure it wouldn’t be a problem if we just brought people from the pro-U.S. factions here.

        Unfortunately, there aren’t any.

        Even the Christians are pro-Assad (anti-U.S.) and blame us for their awful situation.

        The one thing every faction in Syria seems to agree on is that they all hate the United States.

        Maybe if we invite them over for a BBQ, they’ll realize that we’re really not so bad after all.

        1. They all hate the US. Clearly the solution is to fly a few hundred thousand over and let them move in. Nothing helps a country like bringing in large numbers of people who despise it and its culture.

        2. Maybe if we invite them over for a BBQ,

          A halal BBQ, without any pork?

          Yeah, that’ll make friends.

          1. If you define BBQ as “grilling delicious meats in various flavors” Bosnians and Turks have you covered.

        3. Beer Summit 2016? No?

        4. Great idea, Ken. Just don’t take the bratwurst out of the freezer though.

      3. It worked so well with the Boston bombing kids. Tsarnaev or whatever the fuck it is.

  14. This bill is an appalling act of cynicism by the Republicans. As people point out above the bill does nothing. They have to certify the people are not a threat? Big fucking deal. I don’t like Obama anymore than the next guy but I don’t think he is intentionally letting in terrorists. The act of letting the person necessarily means the government has determined they are not a threat. So the “certification” means nothing.

    All this bill does is let Obama get what he wants but ensures the Democrats are going to be left holding the bag if it turns out badly. That is great and all for the Republicans but I don’t give a shit about the Republicans. I want this shit stopped. Fuck the GOP for thinking it is okay to let Obama play dice with American lives because if he loses it might be good for them politically. Assholes.

    1. Yep. Certify how? Put a rubber stamp on their forehead? There is no way to vet these people.

      And John, it isnt dice. The odds are almost certain at least one bad guy will get in. After one they go down but not very steeply.

      1. Certify how? Put a rubber stamp on their forehead?

        Why not stick with the classics? An ID number tattooed on their forearm should work.

        1. This is the 21st Century RC. Insert a radio tracking chip. We do it to dogs why not refugees?

          1. With a small, remote controlled explosive, and plant it right at the base of the neck.

      2. BUT WE JUST HAVE TO HAVE THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Because OPEN BORDERS!!!!

    2. Not sure if it is true or not but apparently the current “vetting” rules bar investigators from asking any ideological questions. Sure, all they have to do is lie but it seems a far cry from the administration’s statements of “rigorous screening and security checks” when you can’t so much as ask the question: “So, how do YOU feel about imposing a global Islamic caliphate?”

      1. Cat scans of them looking at a picture of Auschwitz. If those pleasure centers light up they can go back and pound sand im the hellhole they came from.

    3. This bill goes farther than current policy. The current policy is that they have no known terror affiliations. Certifying that they are not a threat is a prediction that will get hung on anyone who stamps an approval on the wrong person.

      No one will be certified.

      1. So, either a bureaucrat takes a risk with its career, or some random American(s) take risks with their lives.

        Tough call, I know.

      2. Like there will ever be any consequences for that person. The whole thing is just the Republicans letting it happen but ensuring the Democrats own it. As I say above, the Democrats are retarded and the Republicans are fucking evil.

        1. It isn’t ‘Republicans’. It’s Mitch McConnell and company. That’s his strategy for everything.

    1. We have a President and most of the political class who do not think liberal democracy is worth defending or in any way preferable to various third world alternatives. How can we expect people to reject ISIS and embrace our values when our own President doesn’t find our values worth defending or in any real sense better than other values?

      1. This.

        What we have is a cynical political class comprised of sociopaths who look after their own interests first. If that means becoming a leading member of the coming caliphate, so be it. These are politicians who squawk out whatever noises will keep them in power.

        We need people of action. People who are not afraid to get their hands dirty. People who can wake people up to the nasty side of reality.

        1. I left out principle but only because I am distracted. Readying to take the wife to her girl’s night out gathering.

          1. Go on…

        2. We need people who don’t loath themselves and whose personal identity is not based in the positional good of feeling superior to other Americans. You have to understand that for someone like Obama or your typical beltway journalist being Progressive is the ultimate positional good. It allows you to wake up every day and know that you are righteous, tolerant and smart and are fighting the good fight against the evil and stupid Americans who are not.

          The reason why Progressives can’t admit the truth about the threat of radical Muslims is that doing so would require them to admit the truth that their American political opponents are in the grand scheme of things not particularly bad. Doing that totally deprives them of any positional good for being Progressive. So they don’t do it. They just pretend the jihadists are misunderstood and to the extent they are evil it is because the evil conservatives made them that way.

          1. Your second paragraph nails it I think.

            It would also distract from their phony baloney bullshit issues like global warming.

            They have been frantically trying to plug both of those leaks in the dike in an identical fashion as the BLM people crying about the Paris attacks distracting from their struggle.

            (waiting to see how long before the obligatory ‘finger in the dyke’ joke appears)

            1. (waiting to see how long before the obligatory ‘finger in the dyke’ joke appears)

              *Archer voice* Wait, I totally had something for this… something about one in the stink…

              1. I tried to think of a joke, I got nothing.
                But you know who else was interested in the Dutch?

          2. The reason why Progressives can’t admit the truth about the threat of radical Muslims Communists is that doing so would require them to admit the truth that their American political opponents are in the grand scheme of things not particularly bad. Doing that totally deprives them of any positional good for being Progressive. So they don’t do it. They just pretend the jihadists Bolsheviks are misunderstood and to the extent they are evil it is because the evil conservatives made them that way.

            Hmm…checks out!

            1. Yeah, this is nothing new.

          3. The only way to save America is to dispose of our progressives. I’m open to humane methods, but ultimately have no issue with using inhumane methods to be rid of them. They have to go.

            Everything else here is just the usual useless hand wringing and bitching.

    2. For a young, unemployed Muslim man in the Midlands, faced with a choice between watching Birmingham FC slide down the Championship table, or taking part in an epic adventure in a far-flung part of the world in which he gets to participate in a real-life battle of good against evil, it’s a no brainer. It’s a life stripped bare of all meaning, versus a starring role in the Islamic version of Game of Thrones.

      Theodory Darlymple was writing similar stuff 25 years ago, and not about Muslims, but about British underclass. The difference is that underclass had not been offered the GoT-like alternative.

      1. Darylrmple wrote a great article a few years ago about the success of radical Muslim Imams in prison. Christian chaplains at British prisons and probably a lot of American prisons are always the worst sorts of progressive mealy mouth “just love everyone and love God” types. They basically offer people no answers or no guidance beyond bullshit new age Prog platitudes. Radical Muslims may offer shockingly evil answers but they offer answers and give people a way to get meaning in their lives. And unsurprisingly, they attract all kinds of converts.

    3. I’m struggling to understand what is so appealing about a death cult. Maybe because I’m not religious and the dude-bro fantasy stuff is wasted on me too.

  15. Why don’t we apply the same standard to the refugees that we apply in combat… any military age males in Syria are automatically regarded as enemy combatants for the purpose of drone strikes. Enemy combatants cannot be refugees. Simple logic concludes that military age males in Syria cannot be refugees. Widows and orphans are quite welcome. Problem solved.

    1. Seriously, if they were to exclude unattached males from the refugee program, it would make a lot more sense. Family groups, women, children, sure. 99.9% of the risk comes from unattached males (which are an disproportionate number, as far as I can tell, of the migrant wave).

      1. That thought process is the reason why I am in favor of the “wage gap.”

        Men get paid more because we get left behind.

      2. What’s your cutoff on “children”? Cause there’s a loooooot of 17 year-olds in Europe right now.

        1. Given the lack of documentation, that’s a very good question for which I have no good answer.

        2. Enemy combatant Al-Awlaki’s son was only 16, so military age has to be less than that, I would think.

      3. 99.9% of the immediate risk comes from unattached males. But the kids grow up and often become risks, as France and much of the rest of Europe has discovered.

  16. be certified by the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI director, and the director of national intelligence as “not a threat to the security of the United States,”

    I am triggered, TRIGGERED I tell you by this strong language. I am sure ISIS is going to be quaking in their boots when they see all those Top Men and their rubber stamps.

    1. ^Thank you that was brilliant

  17. So this law does one thing that already is not done: requires certifications and reporting from the administration to Congress for a specific subset of refugees. I think both sides to this debate can say “meh” to that.

  18. i expect a lot of my government. i don’t expect them to be psychic. and what is the penalty for certifying someone as not a threat and being wrong? nothing as far as a i can tell.

    so lets brake this down. they want high ranking government officials to vouch for something they can’t possibly know, and this is so important to do, that there’s no actual penalty if they’re wrong.

    sounds like our government alright….job well done. between this and taking our freedoms away, i feel victory is just around the corner!

  19. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  20. A plane in Nepal crashed halfway through its 19 minute fligh

    Nepalese machinery is was it? Last words heard over mic: “Yaks too tired.”

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