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Rep. Perry’s Bill Gives States Say in Refugee Resettlement

WASHINGTON – Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) today introduced legislation to give state governments approval over the resettlement of refugees. The Allow State Sovereignty Upon Refugee Entry (ASSURE) Act is a response to the recently-announced plan from the Obama Administration to drastically increase the number of refugees accepted by the United States to 110,000 in the fiscal year that begins October 1. The new target is a 29% increase over the 85,000 refugees accepted this fiscal year and a 57% hike over the 70,000 refugees allowed per year from 2013 to 2015.

The ASSURE Act, which is supported by The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA,  requires the Office of Refugee Resettlement, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, to submit a detailed plan to each state where refugees are to be resettled.  This plan must list costs expected by the state for housing, education, health care, and any other subsidies. In addition, vaccination records, health records, criminal history, and possible terrorist ties of refugees must be disclosed in the report. After submittal of the plan to the state government, it must be ratified by the state legislature and signed by the governor in order for refugee resettlement to proceed. Reps. Mo Brooks (R-AL) and Jeff Duncan (R-SC) are original cosponsors of the ASSURE Act.

“The United States is a proud nation of immigrants. We’ve welcomed refugees and immigrants for generations, forming a culturally diverse and open country unlike any other in the world. My own grandmother legally emigrated from Colombia in search of greater freedom and opportunity for her family. I want that tradition to continue,” said Representative Perry.

“Instead of appeasing international organizations like the United Nations, however, this Administration should spend more time listening to the justifiable concerns of our state governments when it comes to refugee resettlement. At a time when political candidates are talking more and more about transparency, states and local communities are told simply to accept refugees from some pretty dangerous places - with no information about financial ramifications or assurances that these refugees have been properly vetted or vaccinated. Our communities are sick and tired of being dictated to from Washington and this legislation reflects that,” said Representative Perry.

"Events over the past few days show clearly why Americans are concerned about our current refugee program.  It has become clear that the Federal refugee resettlement infrastructure is too far removed from the American people, and has deteriorated into a money-making business for the resettlement contractors, to respond to Americans' concerns.  Congressman Perry's bill will end the resettlement contractors' monopoly and finally put refugee decisions back in the hands of the American people who not only have to foot the bill for the program, but also have to live with the associated risks," said Grant Newman, a spokesman for Numbers USA.