(WTVM) - Congressman Sanford Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) is pushing for both compassion and security when it comes to allowing Syrian refugees in the United States.
On Wednesday, Nov. 18 he released the following statement:
"First and foremost, our most pressing responsibility is to protect the American people. The brutality shown by ISIS during the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut exemplifies the necessity for vigilance across the Homeland as well as the urgency to proactively counter future terrorist threats to the United States. Ensuring all refugees seeking asylum on our shores continue to be subjected to the highest level of intensive screening in order to weed out those who would do us harm from those 'tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free', our nation must remain a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution, for future Americans, and for the rest of humanity."
This comes as governors from more than 30 states lean on the president to stop allowing Syrian refugees to immigrate to the U.S.
The final say will fall on the federal government, not the states, as outlined in the constitution. At least two states, Delaware and Washington, have announced plans to accept them.
The Chicago City Council also passed a resolution in favor Wednesday of accepting Syrian refugees but it's considered symbolic because city council does not have the authority to decide whether a city accepts refugees.
The White House is threatening a presidential veto of legislation from the House that aims to increase screenings for Syrian and Iraqi refugees before they enter the United States.
Opponents cite the need for more secure immigration measures but the White House says the bill has new requirements that are "untenable."
On Wednesday, five Syrians were detained and charged with falsifying documents after officials say they tried to use fake, stolen Greek passports to enter Honduras.
A new Bloomberg poll released Wednesday shows most Americans do not want the U.S. to allow Syrian refugees in the country. Although the poll shows Americans siding with Republican presidential candidates, governors, and lawmakers on the subject of freezing the Obama administration's resettlement program, the poll also shows the nation divided on whether to put American troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq to battle the Islamic State, or ISIS. President Obama opposes the idea.
Fifty-three percent of U.S. adults in the survey conducted in the days immediately following the attacks say the nation should not continue a program to resettle up to 10,000 Syrian refugees. Just 28 percent would keep the program with the screening process as it now exists, while 11 percent said they would favor a limited program to accept only Syrian Christians while excluding Muslims, a proposal Obama has dismissed as "shameful" and un-American.
Earlier this month, Congressman Bishop announced his support of the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report for Fiscal Year 2016. Among other things, the measure extends the administration's authority to train and equip Syrian rebels fighting both ISIS and the Assad regime and authorizes funding to help train the Iraqi Army in its fight against ISIS. It also protects our bases, strengthens our military.
Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. is serving his twelfth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Middle and Southwest Georgia's 2nd Congressional District.