Ted Cruz introduces ‘common sense’ bill letting governors reject refugees

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. © Brian C. Frank
Senator Ted Cruz on Tuesday presented the State Refugee Security Act of 2015, a bill empowering governors to “opt out” of refugee programs. But the press conference ended with a focus on Donald Trump’s plan for a total ban on Muslim immigration to the US.

“If President Barack Obama wants to send refugees to a certain state, the governor could refuse to participate,” Cruz, a Texas Republican, told reporters Tuesday. The presidential candidate sat beside Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who supported the legislation.

To “protect authority of the states,” Cruz said governors should be allowed “to conclude that the federal government has not done a sufficient job ensuring that the safety and security of the citizens of the state will be protected.”

Cruz also highlighted two other recent bills. One lays down a three-year freeze on accepting refugees from countries such as Syria or Iraq, where the Islamic State covers considerable territory. The other is a bill to remove the citizenship of Americans who travel abroad to fight for a terrorist organization.

While President Obama was the target of Cruz multiple times, Cruz borrowed from Obama’s lexicon, calling his three bills "reasonable, common sense steps" to protect Americans.

“This week, at least 21 Syrian refugees are scheduled to arrive in Texas and perhaps hundreds more are anticipated to arrive during the next year. This makes no sense. We should not be bringing in refugees when our own FBI tells us we cannot ascertain whether or not they are ISIS terrorists,” Cruz said.

Cruz also referred to the San Bernardino attack, saying, “The vetting for the ‘fiancee visa’ was the very same vetting that President Obama tells us will keep us safe from ISIS terrorists coming from Syria.”

Asked to speak to the constitutionality of Donald Trump's proposal of a total and complete ban on Muslim immigration, Cruz responded, "I do not agree with his proposal. I do not think it is the right solution, and the right solution, I believe, is the legislation I've introduced."

Still, Cruz complimented Trump “for standing up and focusing America’s attention on the need to secure our borders. Border security is national security.”

In an interview with Breitbart News Tuesday, Cruz said he would, if elected president, include Trump on his team in negotiating international trade deals. Last week in a separate talk radio interview, when asked if he would build a wall as Trump pledged and even appoint Trump to build the wall, Cruz answered, “Absolutely yes on both fronts.”