Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), on Consideration of the “American SAFE Act”

It is unfortunate that the fear and xenophobia being peddled by some Republican candidates for President is now being given time on the Senate Floor.

Instead of solving the real problems facing Americans – like the student debt crisis or our need for energy independence - or responding to real threats to our national security – like our failure to track visa overstays or prevent terrorists from buying guns - today we are debating a strawman inspired by Donald Trump’s baseless rhetoric. The bill the Republican Leader is asking us to consider will not make America safer. In fact, it is a dangerous distraction that plays into the hands of the ISIS propaganda machine.

Instead of demonizing refugees, who are the most thoroughly screened group of people who enter the United States, we should take up and pass the Defeat ISIS and Protect and Secure the United States Act of 2015.  That bill offers a comprehensive strategy to counter ISIS propaganda and violent extremism in the United States and abroad.  It offers real solutions that will keep us safe rather than scapegoating refugees who are fleeing war and torture.

In contrast, the bill we are asked to consider has put forward is fresh fodder for the false narrative that we are at war with Islam. 

I will oppose this House bill.

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