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The Oklahoman: U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe, James Lankford join those criticizing Obama's refugee position

November 17, 2015
News Stories

The Oklahoman - Chris Casteel

Echoing the concerns of many Republican officeholders, Sen. Jim Inhofe said Monday that no more Syrian refugees should be allowed into the United States until Congress has reviewed the process for screening them.

“Accepting refugees is an important and historical practice of our nation, but the Syrian refugee situation is atypical due to ISIS's attempts to exploit the crisis and concerns over the validity of Syrian passports,” said Inhofe, R-Tulsa.

“We saw this danger first hand with Ahmad Al Mohammad who participated in the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and whose passport and fingerprints matched a person who passed through Greece as a Syrian refugee.”

Inhofe's comments came as Gov. Mary Fallin and governors in more than a dozen states told the Obama administration they don't want to accept any of the refugees because of the attack in Paris on Friday.

The Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, has claimed responsibility for killing 129 people and injuring dozens more in coordinated attacks in the French capital.

‘The great unknown'

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, was among the Republicans who criticized the Obama administration in the wake of the attacks, saying there was no strategy to defeat the Islamic State.

On Fox News, Lankford said, “We have this plan coming from the administration to strike them and find some way to limit them, but not to actually get rid of them. We have to be able to meet them, and that's what is the great unknown.

“The number of fighters that are ISIS fighters wouldn't fill up most American football stadiums. This is not a large group of individuals, but they're tenacious, and they rule with absolute terror.”

At a news conference in Turkey on Monday, President Barack Obama rejected the notion of refusing Syrian refugees, saying they are victims of terrorism.

“And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who's fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that's shameful,” the president said.

“That's not American. That's not who we are. We don't have religious tests to our compassion,” he said.

Inhofe also called for enhanced border security, saying, “One ISIS terrorist entering our country — through whatever means — will enable that cancer to grow and will directly threaten our homeland and its people.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, reiterated his stance that Congress should approve an authorization of war.

"Considering the despicable violence caused by the terrorist group and the innocent blood on its hands, we must have an effective plan to combat ISIL that is offered by the president, approved by Congress and supported by the majority of Americans," Cole said.

"Anything less would be an injustice to those who volunteered to risk their lives to serve in the line of duty."

Online: The Oklahoman