Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, introduced the State Refugee Security Act of 2015 Tuesday at a joint press conference with Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Capitol Hill.
He also indicated that although he disagreed with a recent statement made by Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, he wouldn’t criticize him.
If passed into law, it would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow state governors to opt out of the Obama administration’s Syrian refugee resettlement program.
“This legislation will protect the authority of the states and the authority of the governors to keep their citizens safe. Some 30 governors across the country have stood together with Gov. Abbott – standing together as one saying their obligation is to protect the safety and security of the citizens of Texas and the citizens of each of the states that have elected those governors,” Cruz said.
“Those officials are doing their jobs. I applaud them and Gov. Abbott for honoring their commitments to the men and women who elected them,” Sen. Cruz said. “It is my hope that Congress will take up and pass into law the legislation that I introduced today that gives the governors the ability to opt out if the federal government is not sufficiently vetting refugees.”
Cruz’s office released a statement that said:
Specifically, Sen. Cruz’s legislation will require the federal government to notify a state at least 21 days before a refugee is resettled there. Also, it prohibits the resettlement of a refugee in a state if the governor certifies that the federal government has failed to provide adequate assurance that the refugee does not present a security risk to the state.
The full text of Sen. Cruz’s State Refugee Security Act of 2015 can be found here and video of Sen. Cruz’s and Gov. Abbott’s press conference is available here.
Cruz also proposed a three-year moratorium on the resettlement of refugees coming from any country where terrorist groups such as the Islamic State or al-Qaida controls substantial territory.
In answer to the November 13 multi-targeted Paris attacks by Islamic extremists, Abbott became one of 31 governors who announced that they would refuse to accept refugees from Syria and northern Iraq.
“America is a charitable nation, but we cannot allow charity for some to compromise the safety for all,” Abbott said. “That is what has happened by the way the federal government has interpreted and applied the Refugee Act that already exists.”
In the question-answer period following their statements, Cruz was questioned about fellow GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s statement Monday that all Muslim immigration should be halted.
Although he disagreed with the real estate developer, he refused to criticize him.
“I disagree with that proposal,” Cruz said. “I like Donald Trump. A lot of our friends here have encouraged me to criticize and attack Donald Trump, but I am not interested in doing so. I believe we need a plan that is focused on the direct threat, and the threat we are facing is radical Islamic terrorism.”
Watch the press conference below.
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