Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Senate bill to extend SSI to elderly, disabled refugees conditioned upon security oversight hearing

Posted by Christopher Coen on October 18, 2011

Freshman Sen. Rand Paul finally ended his two-week hold on extending Supplemental Security Income to elderly and disabled refugees, by demanding that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel hold an oversight hearing on the entry of two terrorism suspects to the country via the refugee program. The SSI benefits expired for about 5,600 elderly and disabled refugees on Sept. 30. A POLITICO article has more:

Ending a two-week standoff, freshman Sen. Rand Paul agreed to lift his hold on a bill extending aid to thousands of elderly and disabled refugees living in the United States.

The Kentucky Republican allowed the bipartisan bill to advance after Democratic leaders promised to hold a congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation into why two terrorism suspects were admitted to the U.S. through a refugee program, an aide said…

As part of the agreement with Paul, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the bill’s author and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, will hold an oversight hearing examining refugee resettlement in the United States. Paul will be among those testifying. And Schumer and Paul will jointly request the inspectors general at the Homeland Security, State and Health and Human Services departments investigate why the Iraqi terrorism suspects were allowed to enter the country... Read more here

Yet, we already know why the terrorism suspects got through the security barriers. Prior to the December 2009 underwear bombing incident the Department of Homeland Security was not checking refugee applications against a broader set of security data, including fingerprints. So, what then does Sen. Paul intend to do with this oversight hearing?

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