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Congressman Denny Heck

Representing the 10th District of Washington

Congressman Denny Heck statement on H.R. 4038

Nov 19, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.) released the following statement following the vote in the House of Representatives on H.R. 4038 today:

“I opposed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act which would actually make us less safe. The existing vetting and review process for every refugee seeking asylum in the U.S. currently takes a year and a half at least, and up to 2 years. To create more levels of bureaucracy and background checks to an already thorough process takes precious resources away from our agencies working to identify bad actors and credible threats within our immigration system.  It has worked effectively since 9/11 and led to the admittance of 2,034 Syrian refugees out of 23,092 applicants.

Like many Americans, I am angry, scared, and downright fed up with terrorist attacks and the pain they inflict on law-abiding, loving people whose lives were cut short in the most vicious of acts. When we find out information on these killers, we naturally go towards protecting our loved ones from similar in background to those terrorists, foreigners or strangers that may pose a similar threat today or tomorrow. We could veer in that direction, towards anxiousness, paranoia and despair quickly and easily. But we can't and we won’t. To do so makes us less safe, allows these vicious people to control our emotions, play into their hands and allow them to recruit based on a falsification of America. They hate our compassion, our devotion, and our desire for a free and open society because it hurts their cause.

We are committed to our country's founding principles, to open our doors to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free, to treat everyone equally under the law, and to never discriminate based on religion. And those cowardly extremists despise that. For everyone angry about the death and destruction, I hear you. I share your anger. But my heart cannot direct that anger towards endangering innocent people, many of whom are women, children, and seniors, who desperately run, swim, and escape their home countries that have been swept up in war by evil, inhumane belligerents. We are blessed every day with the most powerful military in the world, and ISIL better believe our military in coordination with the rest of the world will prevail against terror. ”