January 20, 2016

Manchin Votes to Strengthen Vetting Standards for Refugees

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today issued the following statement after voting to begin debate on the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, a bill to strengthen the vetting standards for refugees coming into the United States from Iraq and Syria. The Senate blocked debate on the bill by a 55-43 vote.

“While our country has a long history of welcoming refugees and has an important role to play in the heartbreaking Syrian refugee crisis, it is the government’s responsibility to protect the American people. It is for this reason that I voted in support of legislation that will strengthen vetting standards for refugees coming into our country from Iraq and Syria. We need to ensure that any refugee who comes to the United States does not present a threat to the American people, and right now, we cannot guarantee that. Compassion for Syrian refugees is important, but our first priority is, and should always be, protecting the American people.”

Last year, Senator Manchin sent a letter to President Obama calling for increased efforts to ensure that no refugee related to the Syrian crisis is allowed into the United States unless the U.S. government can guarantee, with 100 percent assurance, that the refugee is not involved with ISIS. To read the full text of the letter, click here.

In December, Senator Manchin sent a separate letter to President Obama urging the Administration to immediately require social media screening as a part of the background check process for all those seeking to enter the United States on a visa. To read the full text of the letter, click here.