Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), the Congressman representing Texas' 27th District, is one of many American politicians who have called on the Federal government to stop accepting Syrian refugees for domestic resettlement after the terrorist attack in Paris, France. Rep. Farenthold is a co-sponsor of House Bill HR 3314, the "Resettlement Accountability National Security Act of 2015," which would "prohibit the admission of refugees into the United States until Congress passes a joint resolution giving the Department of Homeland Security authority to resume admitting refugees." The Congressman explained why he's saying no to refugee resettlement on our November 17, 2015 broadcast. A partial transcript is featured below.
TOM ASHBROOK: Republican Congressman Blake Farenthold — represent's Texas' 27th District, includes the Gulf Coast, Corpus Christi, El Campo, Lockhart and more. Congressman Farenthold, in Washington, welcome to On Point. Thank you very much for joining us.
REP. BLAKE FARENTHOLD: Howdy, Tom. Can you hear me?
TA: Yes, loud and clear, now. I see reporting that you have signed on to this draft legislation that would cut off funding for bringing in Syrian refugees. Is that right, sir?
BF: It is. I think we're going to try to get something out of the House of Representatives this week saying we need to stop this Syrian refugee program. And I think, although actually the way it's gonna get done is through cutting off funding. We could pass a bill saying "Don't let any Syrian refugees in" and I'd bet my bottom dollar President Obama would veto it.
TA: The scenes from Paris are terrible, they're wrenching, but is this a kind of a gut reaction. Washington says, the Federal government says, these are carefully vetted refugees, they spend a couple of years vetting them before they come over, this is not the same as the hundreds of thousands that have flowed into Europe over the summer. Would you be cutting off a program that's pretty well put together, Congressman?
BA: I'm not gonna accept those facts. The House Judiciary Committee, we had the FBI director who admitted there's no good fingerprint database or good identification. They have no information to vet them against. You know, Syria's all but a failed state and we don't have the data collected on the ground in Syria to tell the good guys from the bad guys from the really bad guys.
TA: Ted Cruz, and Jeb Bush in his way, have said, well, we understand there are problems there, let's just take Christians. What do you think of that, Congressman?
BF: Well, I think that would be a violation of our First Amendment, a separation of church and state. I don't think a person's religion outgha be...but I do think their country of origin is worth taking a look at. And let's take a look at the refugee problem overall. Why are we taking the folks in the middle, the reasonable, rational people who aren't extremists on either side, who aren't fighting, resettling them in Europe and the United States when there'll be nobody to rebuild a government in Syria.
TA: I get what you're saying, on the other hand, if it was your family or mine there, barrel bombs coming down and people tortured all over the place and ISIS marching in, you might want to get out of there.
BA: I think I would be looking for a way out too, I admit that. But the fact of the matter is, U.S. policy has failed over there. We can go back and cast blame all we want, but we've gotta look ahead and come up with a solution where we really do do what the President says he wants to do and stop ISIS. The NDAA Congress is sending up to the White House here this week is gonna require the President to come up with a plan and present it to Congress on how we're gonna defeat ISIS, and not just talk about it!
TA: What do you think that's going to take, sir?
BF: I think it's gonna take increased military action. I think as a result of the attacks in Paris we've got our European allies more on board than ever, and I think this is a unique opportunity in history for President Obama to create a coalition worldwide of nations committed to ridding the world of the scourge of terrorism.
TA: You've seen, like I have, those mothers and grandmothers coming ashore in tears in Greece, the drowned, dead toddler on the beach -- do you really have the heart to just say no?
BA: I think we need the Arab States and the countries in the region need to come up with a solution where these refugees are nearby and can return home to rebuild their country in peace when we've defeated ISIS.
TA: I don't know, you think people will look back if this goes through, if this stop goes through, and people are suffering there you think people will...and you know what's happening, when ISIS takes over and they've taken over a lot, there's all kinds of hell to pay...might we look back in shame if we don't help people at the moment when they're really up against it?
BF: I'm looking back at our shame of pulling out of Iraq so soon and allowing ISIS to metastasize in the region.
TA: That's the shame, in your eyes?