On September 30, 2,195 refugees lost their benefits and another 400 to 500 would see their aid run out at the end of this month.
As refugees, they are all survivors of persecution, torture or warfare and rely on government aid for basic food and housing needs.
Congressional supporters had identified offsetting spending cuts to pay for it but Paul described it as “a luxury program.”
Paul claims that the money could be used to aid terrorists citing one incident where two refugees receiving welfare, which was unrelated to the program being blocked, were arrested.
Paul allowed the bipartisan funding bill to go forward after Democratic leaders promised to hold a congressional hearing into how individuals are selected for refugee status and request an investigation into why the two terrorism suspects were admitted to the US through a refugee program.
According to the group Friends of Refugees:
We already know why the terrorism suspects got through the security barriers. Prior to the December 2009 underwear bombing incident the Department of Homeland Security was not checking refugee applications against a broader set of security data, including fingerprints. So, what then does Sen. Paul intend to do with this oversight hearing?
According to Paul the hearings are needed to “ensure we are not supporting terrorists in our own backyards with tax dollars.”
The refugee funding could still face delays with a House Ways and Means Committee spokesman telling Politico that the funding bill must originate in the House since it contains a revenue provision.
Picture by Gage Skidmore