Tillis Joins Call For Syrian Refugee Program Pause Until Authorities Can Detect Fake ISIS Passports | Eastern North Carolina Now

News Release:

 WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) joined seven senators today calling for a pause in the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs until authorities are able to detect the use of fake passports following reports ISIS has a "fake document industry" with passport machines and blank passports. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, the senators called for new measures to ensure false documents can be detected during the screening process before any more Syrian or Iraqi refugees are admitted to the United States. The letter was also signed by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roger Wicker (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Enzi (R-WY), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

"The threat to the United States posed by ISIS-created Syrian passports is now imminent," the senators wrote. "That danger will continue to grow so long as our enemies are able to perfect these passports and exploit loopholes in refugee programs. ISIS is an enemy that constantly adapts around our security posture, and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting our citizens from their brutal terror campaign."

 It has been reported by Homeland Security Intelligence Reports that ISIS has access to "boxes of blank passports," and just last week ABC News reported that the terrorist group has created an entire "industry" producing fake passports. Senator Kirk has repeatedly called for a pause in the Syrian and Iraqi refugee programs until the Administration can be certain terrorists are not abusing the program and sneaking into the United States with fake documentation.

 The text of the letter can be seen here and is below.

 February 3, 2016

 Dear Secretaries Kerry and Johnson:

 On January 25, 2016, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve publicly warned of the growing terrorism threat posed by ISIS's "fake document industry." As ABC News revealed in December 2015, the Department of Homeland Security's investigative arm, known as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), concluded that ISIS terrorists acquired passport-printing capabilities and "boxes of blank passports," and also warned: "Since more than 17 months [have] passed since Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour fell to ISIS, it is possible that individuals from Syria with passports 'issued' in these ISIS controlled cities or who had passport blanks, may have traveled to the U.S."

 The danger of ISIS terrorists using fake or stolen passports to infiltrate Syrian refugee flows and attack the United States became very real amid revelations that two of the nine ISIS terrorists involved in the November 13th attacks in Paris used fraudulent passports to pose as refugees entering the European Union. The threat to the United States posed by ISIS-created Syrian passports is now imminent. That danger will continue to grow so long as our enemies are able to perfect these passports and exploit loopholes in refugee programs. ISIS is an enemy that constantly adapts around our security posture, and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting our citizens from their brutal terror campaign.

 I therefore urge you to suspend the Syrian refugee program until America's intelligence and law enforcement agencies acquire the capabilities to identify all fake Syrian passports and certify that any potential refugee with a Syrian passport poses no threat to national security. The security and integrity of America's refugee program is critical to maintaining the safety of our citizens here at home. The United States should pause plans to accept tens-to-hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees until the Administration implements a credible plan to detect and identify all fake Syrian passports and to prevent ISIS terrorist infiltration. Anything less represents an unacceptable risk to the safety of our country.

 Sincerely,

  • U.S. Senator Mark Kirk
  • U.S. Senator Thom Tillis
  • U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy
  • U.S. Senator John Barrasso
  • U.S. Senator Roger Wicker
  • U.S. Senator James Inhofe
  • U.S. Senator Mike Enzi
  • U.S. Senator Steve Daines

  • Contact:
  • Daniel Keylin/Meghan Burris (Tillis)
  • (202) 224-6342

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