Top 10 National Policy Issues


The on-going conflict in Syria has created a humanitarian crisis which the world has not seen the likes of since World War II.  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that over 4,597,000 registered Syrian refugees have been displaced, fleeing the horrors of ISIS controlled territories and the atrocities committed by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.1  Millions of these refugees have fled to Turkey and Europe, many falling victim to deadly tragedies along their journeys. 

A dilemma that host countries face which is unique to the Syrian refugee crisis is ISIS-inspired extremists exploiting these refugee movements in order to gain access to western countries.  ISIS has publicly stated that it will use the mass exodus from the region to infiltrate Europe and the United States.  On the table is whether the United States should open its doors to Syrian refugees to the same extent as Europe.  In keeping with American values and generosity, the United States routinely accepts persons of refugee status who are fleeing persecution and death in their home countries.  The question this unique situation poses is how much risk to the American people is the country willing to accept?  The U.S. State Department has assured the country that all refugees would be thoroughly vetted, to include biometric testing.  However, many potential extremists would not register in any existing database.  


1Syria Regional Refugee Response

Congressional Record – House
(November 17, 2015)
Stop the Flow of Syrian Refugees

Congressional Record – House
(November 18, 2015)
Syrian Refugees

Congressional Record – House
(November 30, 2015)
Syrian Refugee Crisis

H.Res.533 —Expressing disapproval of the President's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees
114th Congress (2015-2016)
Sponsor:  Rep. Williams, Roger [R-TX-25]
Introduced:  11/18/2015
Cosponsors:  (0) Committees:  House - Judiciary
Latest Action:  12/04/2015 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. (All Actions)

Summary:  Disapproves the President's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees.

S.Res.268 - A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the Syrian refugee crisis.114th Congress (2015-2016)
Sponsor:    Sen. Shaheen, Jeanne [D-NH] (Introduced 09/24/2015)
Committees:    Senate - Foreign Relations
Latest Action:    09/24/2015 Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. (text of measure as introduced: CR S6941)  (All Actions)

Summary:  Recognizes:

  • The scale and complexity of the Syrian refugee crisis and the need for the international community to work together to provide resources and capacity to aid refugees;
  • The humanitarian commitment of Syria's neighbors who have worked to absorb the vast majority of refugees, as well as the European nations who have made commitments to share in the refugee resettlement effort; and
  • That the refugee crisis is a symptom of the broader conflict in Syria, the persecution of persons based on identity groups, including Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen, and Kurds, and instability in the Middle East and North Africa, and that efforts to resolve those challenges are a necessary component of any plan to address the refugee crisis.

Welcomes the President's decision to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, and to increase the overall number of refugees received by the United States to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017.

H.Res.440 - Calling for urgent international action on behalf of Iraqi and Syrian civilians facing a dire humanitarian crisis and severe persecution because of their faith or ethnicity in the Nineveh Plain region of Iraq and Khabor, Kobane, and Aleppo regions of Syria
114th Congress (2015-2016)
Sponsor:  Rep. Trott, David A. [R-MI-11] (Introduced 09/24/2015)
Committees:  House - Foreign Affairs
Latest Action:  09/24/2015 Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  (All Actions)

Summary:

  • Condemns the religious bigotry and attacks against innocent civilians, as well as the destruction of property and ancient sites, by armed extremists in Iraq and Syria.
  • Calls on the relevant parties to protect all citizens in the region.
  • Calls on the President, the Department of State, and the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations (U.N.) to provide humanitarian assistance, protect civilians, and help reestablish livelihoods for displaced and persecuted persons in their communities of origin.
  • Calls on the U.S. Permanent Representative to work with relevant U.N. agencies, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, to document human rights abuses against Iraqi and Syrian refugees and develop a plan to facilitate safe access to potable water, health care, fuel, electricity, and basic security.
  • Calls on the relevant U.N. agencies to collaborate with international humanitarian organizations working in Iraq and Syria to develop: (1) an effective resettlement strategy for displaced and persecuted populations in beleaguered areas, including the ancestral villages in the Nineveh Plain, that facilitates a transition from emergency relief to longer-term economic development; and (2) mechanisms to ensure that assistance reaches vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities without being diverted.
  • Calls on the Department of State and the Department of Defense to: (1) support the training and equipping of vetted local Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac Christians security forces in Iraq and Syria, and (2) work to ensure that minority communities in Iraq and Syria are integrated into future security forces.


H.R.6519 — Safeguarding Sanctuary Cities Act of 2016
114th Congress (2015-2016)
Sponsor:  Rep. Quigley, Mike [D-IL-5]
Introduced:  12/08/2016
Cosponsors: (0)  Committees:  House - Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform
Latest Action: 12/22/2016 Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

A summary is in progress.

Issue Topic

Syrian Refugees

Polling question

Should the United States continue to accept large numbers of Syrian Refugees?

Yes, Strongly Agree
Yes, Agree
Neutral / No opinion
No, Disagree
No, Strongly Disagree

				

President Donald Trump took action within the first month of his administration to fulfil his campaign promise to bar entry into the United States those who present potential danger to its citizens.    

On January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13769, titled "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States." Section 5 of the executive order suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days, and limited the total number of refugees permitted into the U.S. to 50,000 for fiscal year 2017.  The order suspended the entry of Syrian refugees until the President has “determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”  The suspension of the entry to the U.S. was also extended to refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Executive Order 13769 was met with an outpouring of criticism from opponents of the administration and immigration advocates, alleging the order was an executive overreach and unconstitutional.  During the 2016 Presidential campaign cycle, President Donald Trump, made controversial statements about banning all foreign Muslims from entering the United States.  He later amended his position by proposing restrictions on countries with high-terrorism threats.  His rhetoric on the campaign trail provided critics of the administration reason to question the motives of the executive order. On February 3, 2017, Judge James L. Robart, appointed as a federal judge by President George W. Bush in 2004, issued a nationwide temporary restraining order which forbid the federal government from enforcing certain provisions of the order.  Days later, Judge Robart’s ruling was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Trump Administration remains resolute with enforcing immigration policies they refer to as “extreme vetting.”


United States Constitution
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4

Congress shall have Power:
To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;


Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an offi cer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial offi cer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.


United States Court of Appeals
For the Ninth Circuit
No. 17-35105
State of Washington; State of Minnesota v. Donald J. Trump



National results

Total Middle School and High School Respondents: 2

Total Voting Age Respondents: 20

Issue Poll Summary:

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