Paul Ryan Joins Republican Calls For Halt To Accepting Syrian Refugees

Paul Ryan Speaking

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is the latest Republican to call for a halt to the processing of Syrian refugees who may eventually be brought to the United States:

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul D. Ryan called Tuesday for the suspension of a program to accept Syrian refugees into the United States, and two influential senators announced a renewed push for a formal authorization of military force against the Islamic State as Congress moved to respond to the terrorist attacks in Paris.

For two years, Congress has been conflicted about supporting military action in Syria, preferring to mostly let the Obama administration fashion a strategy on its own, while Republicans have accused the White House of failing to come up with a coherent approach.

The developments on Tuesday suggested that the attacks in Paris had shifted the calculations on Capitol Hill, with potentially greater support for authorizing military force against the Islamic State. But there was also a fast-rising backlash, particularly among Republicans, against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States.

Led by Mr. Ryan, the Republicans said there were grave reasons to fear that terrorists would be permitted to enter the country posing as refugees.

“Our nation has always been welcoming,” Mr. Ryan said at a news conference. “But we cannot allow terrorists to take advantage of our compassion. This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry. So we think the prudent, the responsible thing is to take a pause in this particular aspect of this refugee program in order to verify that terrorists are not trying to infiltrate the refugee population.”

(…)

Mr. Ryan said he would invite Democrats to join Republicans in addressing the worries about terrorists arriving in the United States as refugees. “All of this rises above politics,” Mr. Ryan said.

Still, a robust debate seems likely, especially if Congress considers authorizing military force, which could increase the number of refugees, while simultaneously refusing to give shelter to at least some of the millions of people already displaced by the long war in Syria.

The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, said he was drawing up legislation to suspend the refugee resettlement program.

“I call on you to temporarily suspend the admission of all additional Syrian refugees into the United States pending a full review of the Syrian refugee resettlement program,” Mr. McCaul wrote in a letter to Mr. Obama.

Given the politics of this situation, which I’ve discussed in earlier posts, this is, of course entirely unsurprising even if the objections being raised don’t seem to have much merit beyond fearmongering. As I said this morning, though, given that the political realities are what they are it seems clear that the Administration is going to need to do a better job of explaining exactly what is involved in the refugee screening process that is being used here, how it has worked in the past, and how it would worked in the future. This should be done not only in private discussions with Senators, Members of Congress, and the nation’s Governors, but also as part of a broader outreach to the American public. We haven’t seen any polling on this issue in the wake of Paris just yet, but it is most assuredly coming and I anticipate that it will be rather negative toward the Administration’s position unless they find a way to get out in front of it. This move is unlikely to change the minds of many on the right, of course, but the effort needs to be made in any case and the Administration owes it to the American public to be open about what’s going on and how they are screening refugee claims.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Congress, National Security, Quick Takes, Terrorism, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DrDaveT says:

    “All of this rises above politics,” Mr. Ryan said.

    No, Mr. Ryan. It lowers itself beneath contempt. There’s a difference.

    I’m waiting for the Republicans to finish their syllogism:

    1. Some nontrivial fraction of all Muslim immigrants are dangerous to the US
    2. Therefore we should bar all Muslim immigrants from the US

    3. A disproportionate fraction of young black men Americans serve time, some of them for violent crimes
    4. This can’t be due to discrimination on the part of the criminal justice system, because America
    5. Therefore a nontrivial fraction of all young black males are dangerous to the US
    6. Therefore…

  2. M. Bouffant says:

    So Ryan is scared of Huckabee’s big mouth? Not a good sign. How can he “stand up to” whomever if he can’t stand up to a gasbag like Huck?

  3. bookdragon says:

    In other words, Ryan is a feckless spineless gasbag. So, basically no news here.

  4. bill says:

    gee, weren’t the boston bombing brothers also “refugees”? there’s a reason most of the world (including the muslim world) do not want these people around them. and no, it’s not my fault they were born and not my responsibility to put them on the dole here. we have a pretty generous immigration policy, take number and wait in line.

  5. James Pearce says:

    Anyone on the right still worried Ryan’s not “one of us?”

  6. ernieyeball says:
  7. An Interested Party says:

    there’s a reason most of the world (including the muslim world) do not want these people around them.

    Umm, who exactly are “these people”?

    …it’s not my fault they were born and not my responsibility to put them on the dole here.

    No, but it is your fault that you are a xenophobic azzhole and your responsibility to acknowledge your bigotry…

    Jindal jumps off the wagon.

    Maybe he can hire himself out as a professional exorcist once his term as governor is up…

  8. Tillman says:

    Occurs to me that as Speaker of the House, he could endeavor to pass legislation barring the Obama administration from taking in Syrian refugees. That he’d instead rather blame the president and do nothing shows he’s not different from John Boehner.

  9. Bill Lefrak says:

    There’s a solution to this problem that’s so obvious, so apropos in its political and social impacts, it’s a no brainer.

    Leftists need not to be hypocritical and they need to have the courage of their stated convictions. They need not to be falconrefugeedoves.

    Leftists therefore should take in the refugees personally. Literally. Into their own gated communities. Into their very homes. Or at least into their servants’ quarters.

    Liberal arts academia also needs to do its part, too. The refugees should be resettled on liberal arts college and university campuses. Smith. Amherst. Trinity. Skidmore. Wesleyan. That way the future baristas and bartenders of America truly can feel good about themselves, while they celebrate diversity and embrace multiculturalism. Plus imagine the extra street cred that the washed up ex-Hippie professor demographic could obtain if they personally took in refugees, too. The next time those dopey academics were exchanging platitudes with trust fund babies at cocktail parties, they could regale the ensuing champagne klatches with tales of having taken in groups of refugees. Engaging them in big thought rhetorical debate societies.

    Don’t worry, leftists, the Obama administration carefully and thoroughly will screen these refugees. Mmm, hmm.

    Look, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Sure, of course, a few people might get beheaded. A few more might get blow’d up and such. A small price to pay for the in fact as opposed to in words egalitarianism for which leftists are so very well known.

    #don’tbeafalconrefugeedove

  10. An Interested Party says:

    Leftists therefore should take in the refugees personally.

    Certainly they wouldn’t be scared of widows and orphans like you obviously are…

  11. robz says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    Your pants, they seem to be wet.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @Bill Lefrak:

    The refugees should be resettled on liberal arts college and university campuses. Smith. Amherst. Trinity. Skidmore. Wesleyan. That way the future baristas and bartenders of America truly can feel good about themselves, while they celebrate diversity and embrace multiculturalism.

    I would think that refugees would want to settle in states that encourage open or concealed carry of weaponry?