Sheridan Statement on Ken Calvert’s Comments in the Nov 19, 2015 Patch Article re: Syrian Refugee Bill – November 28, 2015

November 28, 2015

Unfortunately, 22-year incumbent Congressman Ken Calvert’s statements about the Syrian refugee crisis are rooted in political theatre and not facts. Simply put, the legislation the House passed aimed at Syrian women and children refugees is, for all intent and purposes, not necessary and wastes valuable time and resources.

First, Mr. Calvert claims that he wants to keep his constituents safe – a worthy and appropriate goal. However, instead of sponsoring legislation that would actually accomplish this, such as mandating background checks at gun shows, he sponsors a bill designed to keep five-year-old kids out of the country.

It does not make much sense.

Moreover, when considered in context with the current procedure on the books, the new legislation has no substantive purpose.

Consider the facts –

Currently, refugees from Syria are:

1. Referred to the United States by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
2. Given extensive background checks;
3. Given biometric and fingerprint screenings;
4. Reviewed by the State Department, the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center and other Federal agencies; and
5. Given an in-person interview with the Department of Homeland Security.

All told, this process takes between 18 and 24 months.

Under Mr. Calvert’s new legislation, the FBI Director, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence will be mandated to sign off on each refugee. Not only does the new procedure redirect agency resources away from active investigations and takes up each Director’s time, it adds another layer of Federal government intervention that Mr. Calvert also allegedly opposes.

As for Mr. Calvert’s plan for requiring polygraphs, does he intend to polygraph five-year-old kids? That makes no sense. Moreover, polygraph examinations are inherently unreliable – despite what he may see on television. Mr. Calvert’s belief that polygraphs should be front and center in our anti-terrorist plan is wholly without merit.

We can do better-

In the end, I submit that instead of creating another layer of government review, Congress should use the money to support the process we already use. It is more important that Federal employees doing this work have the resources they need to do their jobs as opposed to mandating that the head of an agency sign a piece of paper.

Most importantly, it will allow us to keep our title as the most compassionate country in the world and the beacon of hope for all people – regardless of their circumstances!

Read the November 19th Patch article regarding the Syrian Refugee Bill here: