HIAS Condemns American SAFE Act of 2015

WASHINGTON—Melanie Nezer, Vice President for Policy & Advocacy at HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, today explained why the American SAFE Act of 2015 would have negative repercussions if it moves forward. The House voted to pass the bill today by a count of 289-137.

Nezer said after the House vote:

“For decades, the United States has been a leader in refugee protection and a beacon of hope for persecuted peoples. Yet today, the House voted on legislation that would effectively shut the refugee program down indefinitely for Syrians and Iraqis while a new bureaucratic procedure is put into place.

“Today’s vote is particularly baffling when you consider how well the existing process works. Refugees are already more thoroughly vetted and screened than any other visitor to the United States. Our national security agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center, have decades of experience using the existing vetting process successfully. This bill threatens a very successful, highly secure humanitarian program, and I am deeply disappointed that the House chose to overlook that fact when passing this bill.”

This morning, Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, delivered testimony during a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, on the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

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