Former Secs. of State slam Congress for anti-refugee bill

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Halting refugee admission will undermine ‘objective of combating terrorism” group writes in letter

WASHINGTON – A groups of bipartisan veteran former senior U.S. officials, including Henry Kissinger and Madeline Albright on Tuesday sent a letter to lawmakers that objected to recent legislation that essentially bars U.S. entry for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. 

“We believe that America can and should continue to provide refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution without compromising the security and safety of our nation,” said the veteran leaders that included former State Department and Pentagon chiefs. 

Halting refugees’ resettlement in the U.S. would contradict American values and undermine “the objective of combating terrorism,” according to the group.

They acknowledged that the process refugees undergo is already robust and thorough enough. 

“Refugees are victims, not perpetrators, of terrorism. Categorically refusing to take them only feeds the narrative of ISIS that there is a war between Islam and the West, that Muslims are not welcome in the United States and Europe, and that the ISIS caliphate is their true home,” they added.  

Signatories include Secretaries of State George Shultz; defense cheifs Leon Panetta, William Cohen, William Perry, Chuck Hagel, head of homeland security Janet Napolitano and Michael Chertoff as well as CIA directors, national security advisors and several Joint Chiefs chairmen.

The House recently passed legislation that requires additional vetting requirements for refugee admission that indirectly aims to stop refugees from entering the U.S. 

The bill, now in the Senate, was introduced on the heels of deadly terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 130 victims. 

President Barack Obama vowed to veto the bill if it reaches his desk. 

The U.S. plans to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees during the 2016 fiscal year.

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