Citing Orlando Shooting, Tennessee Representative Again Calls For Freezing Syrian Resettlement | Nashville Public Radio

Citing Orlando Shooting, Tennessee Representative Again Calls For Freezing Syrian Resettlement

Jun 16, 2016

U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn is again calling for a halt to the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

And the Tennessee Republican is pointing to the shooting in Orlando as she makes her case, even though the culprit wasn't from overseas.

Blackburn took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday to make another push for a temporary ban on refugees. Blackburn has co-sponsored a measure with fellow Tennessee Rep. Scott DesJarlais that would cut off all funding for resettlement until Congress has approved the Obama administration's plans.

The shooter in the Pulse nightclub massacre was born and raised in the United States; his parents were immigrants from Afghanistan. Authorities also say they have not found any evidence he was in direct contact with the Islamic State, even though he's reported to have declared his allegiance with the group.

Still, Blackburn says the case suggests Syrians shouldn't be allowed into the U.S.

That's because Omar Mateen was twice investigated by federal authorities based on tips he might become violent, but they found nothing.

"This reveals vetting is nearly impossible," Blackburn says, "and it is one of the reasons … that we need to halt the migration of Syrian refugees until a proper process is in place."

Supporters of refugee resettlement counter by arguing the process is already tough enough, frequently taking years to complete.

They also argue that it's rare for a refugee to get involved in extremism.

More often it has been someone who was reared in the U.S. — like Mateen — that carries out an attack.

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