Refugee Resettlement Watch

Breaking! Senator Lindsey Graham prevails with stepped-up security amendment to S.744

Posted by Ann Corcoran on May 20, 2013

Just now, I happened to catch the live mark-up proceedings in the US Senate Judiciary Committee and saw Senator Graham make his pitch for his Amendment #1, described here, that is clearly in response to the Boston Bomber Tsarnaev family’s re-visits to the homeland where they supposedly were persecuted.

Dick Durbin leans on Graham at a previous meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee

Graham sought to amend S.744 with a provision that would revoke refugee or asylum status to anyone who returns to the land of their alleged persecution without “good cause.”

Of course, if S.744 passes there will be much to do about what exactly is “good cause” and how a refugee or asylee might apply to return “home” for a visit.  Going home to a funeral might be a ‘good cause’ but as Graham pointed out going home to learn bomb-making should have a penalty.  Graham’s victory is a symbolic victory for common sense, but likely temporary.

Arguing against Graham (and voting against him) were Senators Leahy and Durbin (no surprise).  Graham was successful by voice vote.   However, cynic that I am, I think Leahy and Durbin just went through the motions of opposing Graham for the sake of making a show for their “humanitarian” lobbyist friends.

Throwing Graham a bone to keep him on board (with the Gang of Eight and Grover) now was probably more important—they can always dump his amendment later in the process.  And, besides, now Graham can say he strengthened security measures in the bill.

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