SECURE Act: Stop Extremists Coming Under Refugee Entry Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rand Paul today introduced the Stop Extremists Coming Under Refugee Entry Act (SECURE Act) as an amendment to H.R.3761, Restoring American’s Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015. The legislation would suspend visa issuance for countries with a high risk of terrorism and impose a waiting period for background checks on visa issuance from other countries until the American people can be assured terrorists cannot enter the country through our immigration and visa system. This legislation is based off language first proposed by Sen. Paul in 2013. Sen. Paul introduced S.2329, the SECURE Act, as a stand-alone bill earlier this year.
Sen. Paul also introduced today three amendments to H.R.3761 that would restrict funding to resettle refugees in the U.S.
Click HERE to read the text of the SECURE Act in its entirety.
Top-line bullet points and background information for the SECURE Act offered as an amendment can be found below.
Enhances Screening for High-Risk Refugees
- Designates 33 countries as “high-risk” and places an immediate moratorium on refugee and asylum approvals from those countries;
- Within 30 days, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will provide to Congress a comprehensive assessment of the status of refugees and the screening process, including numbers and countries of origin, failed security checks, information on refugees that do not comply with requests related to security screening, or who cannot be located;
- The Secretary of Homeland Security shall certify to Congress within 30 days that enhanced background checks and monitoring have been implemented, and that Congress has been supplied with all necessary information on the status of refugee screening;
- Once the Secretary of Homeland Security has completed the 3 requirements below, Congress can review whether satisfactory progress has been made and hold a separate vote to resume approvals for refugees from high-risk countries.
- Submit the DHS refugee screening assessment;
- Certify that an enhanced screening capability has been implemented; and
- Certify to the elimination of any existing security screening backlogs.
Improves Security in Non-Immigrant and Visa Waiver Travel
- For all non-immigrant visas, the bill specifies that 30 days of security review are required prior to approval for entry to the United States;
- For those from “high risk” countries, there is an immediate moratorium on approvals for entry to the United States until the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Director of National Intelligence jointly certify that a national security screening process is implemented, and that the new process significantly improves our ability to identify potential security risks.
- Requires DHS to certify once it has completed and implemented the 1990’s requirement set forth in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act for full biometric entry and exit tracking of U.S. visitors.
- Once the certifications are made, Congress may consider resumption of regular approvals from high-risk countries.
Expands Enrollment Opportunities for Trusted Traveler Programs
- Trusted travelers are not subject to additional security reviews once approved for enrollment;
- DHS may accept and consider applications, and may approve qualified applicants, to enroll from any country;
- DHS will give preference to applications for enrollment filed in order:
- U.S. citizens;
- U.S. legal permanent residents;
- Citizens of Visa Waiver participant countries;
- Aliens with significant documented travel history to and from the U.S.;
- All remaining applicants.
- All application fees collected by DHS for enrollment in a trusted traveler program are specifically designated to pay for the cost of enhanced screening.