This past week I had the privilege of visiting Marshall High School to celebrate their FFA championship with a presentation of a House Resolution signed by myself and the Speaker. Unfortunately, we will spend the bulk of this report on a more somber subject.
The dangerous politics surrounding terror attacks
There used to be a saying in America that politics ended on the water's edge, but I'm afraid this is no longer the case. The sad fact came to light this week after the Paris shootings and bombings brought new awareness to the issues of global terrorism.
On Friday evening, terrorists linked to the ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant which seems more accurate than the often used ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, as the Levant also includes Jordan and Israel showing the intentions of the terrorists to establish a large empire) with attacks on six different locations in Paris. The Paris attacks came on the heels of the bombing of a Russian airliner in the Middle East. These attacks brought to light that there is a terrorist push to take their battle outside of the Middle East to European countries and they also have targets sighted within the U.S. With this thought in mind, and the fact that ISIL has stated they will imbed operatives within the thousands of refugees, many have become concerned, especially many of us when we learned that Missouri is on the list of states for relocating Syrian refugees.
Several members of the General Assembly contacted Governor Nixon to take these threats seriously after he made comments that the federal government will do a thorough background check of all refugees from Syria. This is in direct contradiction of FBI Director James Comey and many intelligence officials in Washington, D.C. who say they cannot adequately vet all the refugees (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/11/17/senior-obama-officials-have-warned-of-challenges-in-screening-refugees-from-syria/ ). In fact, in the worn-torn country many simply do not have a documented background.
Current CIA Director John Brennan recently stated that the empire (known in the region as a caliphate) is intended to reach far beyond the Middle East. This was allowed to happen as the current administration which underestimated the ability of ISIL to grow to as many as 30,000 today (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/cia-director-warns-of-more-isis-attacks/article/2576428 ). Nonetheless, President Obama does not seem concerned.
The day after the attacks in Paris, Obama began a news conference with the topic of climate change and leisurely worked his way into an unimpassioned discussion of the Parisian attacks. He certainly conveyed no sense of outrage or urgency. Amazingly enough, the day before the Paris attacks he announced that ISIL was in retreat. Obviously, the president does not consider the group to be a legitimate threat. In fact, since his first remarks he has taken the bizarre route of using the incident for political rhetoric. This despite members of his own party, such as Diane Feinstein, who express grave concern that terror attacks in the U.S. are eminent. As a result of this lack of leadership, we have had to take action.
I signed onto a letter with 85 other representatives and the House Speaker addressed to the governor asking him to take sensible and responsible measures during this time of heightened danger. Several other representatives sent their own letters to the governor. We see no reason to let possible radical operatives to imbed themselves with the ranks of legitimate refugees (http://www.wnd.com/2015/09/isis-smuggler-we-will-use-refugee-crisis-to-infiltrate-west/ ). So far, none of us have received a response. Therefore, I turned to Congress.
Fortunately, Vicky Hartzler (I live in the 4th Congressional District) understands the threat and joined five other members in a letter to the governor urging prudence. This letter very much reflected the thoughts expressed by the General Assembly. In a follow up, Speaker Paul Ryan stated that we need a security test, not a religious test, for those entering our country and we should put the safety of Americans first and foremost. As a result, Congresswoman Hartzler and several others have introduced legislation to use a prudent policy in allowing Syrian refugees into our country and state. Following is her statement on the matter:
"We are a compassionate nation and are sympathetic to the plight of those trying to escape terror in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. However, until we can fully guarantee the safety of our citizens here at home, I cannot support continuing to freely accept refugees from unstable and war-torn countries. We must act quickly to ensure American lives are protected. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
[Thursday] the House is slated to vote on the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act of 2015, which I am co-sponsoring.
The bill prevents admission to the United States of any proposed Syrian or Iraqi refugee, or any proposed refugee present in Iraq or Syria at any time on or after March 1st, 2011, until the nation's top security officials--the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence-- unanimously certify that the individual does not represent a security threat." ~ Vicky Hartzler
The U.S. House passed this measure. I urge you contact our two senators and ask them to exercise caution along with our compassion and compulsion to help those in need.
I know many of you have contacted the Governor's Office asking that he express concerns to the president with the current policy of refugee vetting. I would suggest keeping up the contact, and perhaps he will eventually represent the will of Missourians. It is time to put our obligations to enhance domestic tranquility ahead of politics.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.