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Clashes Over More Refugees Likely to Intensify

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Washington, September 19, 2016 | comments

Clashes Over More Refugees Likely to Intensify
By John Gizzi
Monday, 19 Sep 2016

A clash between the White House and Republican Rep. Brian Babin over refugees admitted to the U.S. is likely to intensify given the bombings and stabbings over the weekend.

Babin has written a letter calling on Congress to put a moratorium in the upcoming spending bill on the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. from Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa. “By doubling down and defying warnings from his own security experts,” the Texan charged on Tuesday, “the president is further jeopardizing the security and well-being of each and every person in the United States.”

In response to my question referring to Babin’s claim that the president was “defying warnings from his own security experts,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest Earnest to me Wednesday: “I suspect the national security experts that he's referring to may have given themselves that title — I'm not sure it's one that they’ve earned.”

“It’s frightening Mr. Earnest is so uninformed, since his boss himself appointed these national security experts,” Babin told me in reply. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax over the weekend, Babin produced quotes from three of the president’s top advisers on security: FBI Director James Comey, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

Comey was quoted in The Hill on Oct. 8, 2015, saying “There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like [Syria].”

Clapper told the Sun Chronicle on Sept. 9. 2015, “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees. That is a huge concern of ours.”

“We may have someone who is not on our radar and someone may choose to do something bad after they get here,” said Johnson on Oct. 21, 2015, to

”In giving you the lame answer he did,” Babin told me. “It is regrettable Mr. Earnest is unaware that his own boss’s top security advisers agree they cannot properly screen refugees coming into the U.S. from Syria.”

He went on to say that refugees from Syria that the president is proposing to admit to the U.S. in greater numbers next year “are people who pose a danger to our country. It is my duty to the citizens of my constituency to stop this.” The administration plans on up to 110,000 refugees in 2017. This is an increase of 40,000 over the previous year.

So far, the first-term lawmaker has collected 36 signatures on his amendment to the spending bill that would withhold funding from the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the State Department “until proper security measures are in place.”

A similar measure was pushed by Babin last year but was kept out of the Continuing Resolution to fund the government. For that reason, Babin told us, he voted against the Continuing Resolution that kept the government running.

“This year is different,” he said, “After the tragedies of San Bernardino, Nice and Paris, and Garland, Texas, and Orlando, Fla., we can’t further jeopardize the well-being of each and every citizen.”

Babin also pointed out that a refugee who had been radicalized was arrested in his district by the FBI with the intent of blowing up shopping malls in Houston.

“After the bombing in New York Saturday and the stabbing at the [St. Cloud] Minnesota mall this weekend, the moratorium on refugees is more important than ever,” he added.

That clash is expected to escalate further following the bombing this weekend in New York and the stabbing in a Minnesota mall — the latter of which the Islamic State is claiming credit for. 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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