Citing fears that refugees, particularly those arriving from Syria, could pose a terrorist threat, several Republican state senators pressed Thursday for additional background checks and tighter oversight on agencies that resettle refugees in Texas.
“Right now, there’s a civil war in Syria, and there are terrorists in Syria, and there have actually been various serious attacks in Europe,” state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, said during a Capitol hearing before the Committee on Health and Human Services.
Echoed by other Republicans, including Sen. Donna Campbell of New Braunfels, Schwertner said he wasn’t confident that the federal government is conducting complete background checks into potential refugees, and he suggested that state health agencies take more control over private resettlement organizations to ensure that new Texans are thoroughly investigated.
“We should have a refugee program, but my concern is for the safety of the citizens of Texas. That is my motivation,” said Schwertner, the committee chairman. “This population needs be thoroughly vetted.”