Republican Senator Joni Ernst says it’s time for an indefinite “pause” on allowing all refugees into the United States, to make sure ISIS fighters aren’t infiltrating the resettlement program.
“After 9/11, I believe it was about two months that the United States paused,” Ernst says. “And then President Obama, when he took the pause in 2011, I believe that was about a six month period before we started receiving Iraqi refugees.”
Suspected terrorists have been caught on this continent, trying to use Greek and Syrian passports to enter the U.S. from the south. Ernst says that’s of “grave concern” and adds to the need for urgent action.
“We need to step back and take a look at protecting our homeland, whether it’s through the refugee vetting process, whether it’s through a Visa waiver program, whether it’s through taking care of our borders and making sure they’re secure,” Ernst says. “There are many things that we need to implement and implement them now.”
Ernst, a former Iowa National Guard company commander, says the president needs to form a “real” international alliance to attack ISIS on the ground in Syria and Iraq.
“We have never won a war just on an air campaign, so at some point there is the need to put in ground forces, but I believe that should be done as a coalition,” Ernst says. “…I don’t want to hear about containing ISIS. I don’t want to hear about degrading ISIS. At this point, I want to talk about what we do to destroy ISIS.”
President Obama has accused Republicans who’ve raised concerns about resettling Syrian refugees of using inflammatory rhetoric that aids ISIS in its recruiting efforts. Ernst says Americans have the right to “speak freely” and Ernst says security concerns are coming “from both sides of the aisle.”
Ernst made her comments this morning during a telephone news conference with Iowa reporters.