Today at an Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing entitled "Terrorist Travel: Vetting for National Security Concerns," Congressman Gary Palmer (R-AL), questioned Obama Administration officials about threats from terrorists entering our country by taking advantage of our visa laws. This threat has become more urgent after the recent attack in San Bernardino, California, where one perpetrator, Tashfeen Malik, was a foreign national who was cleared to enter the U.S. by exploiting weak points in our visa laws.
"National security is the first and most important responsibility of the federal government," Palmer said. "This hearing demonstrated that, when it comes to this Administration thoroughly evaluating persons seeking to come to the U.S. as refugees or with a visa, there are still too many holes in the bucket. Ensuring that people seeking entry to the US are thoroughly vetted should be one of Congress's top priorities in the next year."
In response to questions by Congressman Palmer, Administration officials stated that current law dictates that refugees are granted citizenship more quickly than other legal immigrants seeking citizenship.
You can watch Congressman Palmer's questions at the hearing below:
Palmer previously supported H.R. 158 the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act, which restricted access to certain high-risk individuals to visa waivers to come to the United States, and provided incentives for certain countries to provide more timely intelligence on potential terrorist threats.
Palmer has also repeatedly expressed skepticism of passing any spending bill that would fund our current refugee programs without a provision ensuring that the FBI certifies that all refugees coming to America have been thoroughly vetted and not deemed to be a threat. He is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 3314, introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, which would create a pause on admitting more refugees until Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security the authority to admit refugees.