President Donald Trump has pledged to implement a policy of "extreme vetting" when it comes to refugees from nations with a high rate of terrorist activity. Now, two Texas leaders are looking to help the new president in that plan. Congressman Ted Poe (R-Humble) and Senator Ted Cruz have introduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2017, which is aimed at giving states the right to reject refugee resettlements from the federal government. Senator Cruz introduced a similar bill two years ago, but now with Republican majorities in the House and Senate as well as a Republican president in the White House, the bill has a much greater chance of passing and becoming law.
Congressman Poe explained the bill to KTRH. "Under this bill, the federal government must notify the state 21 days before they resettle any refugees in the state," he says. "Then, if the state governor is not satisfied that they have been vetted, the state governor may opt out and refuse to take the refugees."
Poe says the current policy, enacted under the Obama Administration, is far different. "States all of a sudden find out that an airplane is landing somewhere in the state, and the federal government gives ten minutes notice that oh by the way, we're dropping off so many refugees from this particular country and we're leaving them in your town," he says. "Those days are gonna be over."
In a statement, Senator Cruz says this bill will "augment the efforts of the new administration" in helping "states and governors to keep their citizens safe."
Congressman Poe describes it as a states’ rights bill. "We want to make sure that before (refugees) are taken in to the state of Texas and other states, that the state governor knows who the people are," he says.