Lawmaker pushes bill to allow states to deny Syrian refugees

Rep. Ted Yoho explains effort


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," November 23, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Welcome back, everybody.

What was it, I think 34 governors, right, who didn't want those Syrian refugees the way things stand now. They thought it would be dangerous. We don't know where they're coming from. We don't know if they are going to be threat to security. And the law is the law, that regardless of their protests, they have no control over this. And the feds rule, and they have to drool.

Republican Congressman Ted Yoho of Florida wants to change that.

How so, sir?

REP. TED YOHO, R-FLA.: Hey, Neil. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

CAVUTO: To you as well.

YOHO: What we want to do is, we want to go ahead and make sure the governors have the authority to not accept Syrian refugees.

According to the 1980 immigration -- or Refugee Act of 1980, the federal government can come in and place these. But they have three things they must do. They must tell the governors where they're coming from and how many. They must tell them where they're going within their state. They also must guarantee that they're free of threat.

And right now, we just came from a hearing not too long -- a day or two ago, and director of the FBI and the director of DHS...

CAVUTO: Right.

YOHO: ... said that they could not guarantee that they could guarantee where those people came from, so they can't vet them.

So, we're giving protection to the governors, so that if -- when they refuse them -- and there's 31 -- or 34 governors, as you stated -- they don't have to accept them. And this gives cover to the governors.

CAVUTO: Has it ever been forced down a governor's throat in this latest go-around? Because I think the governor in Indiana, he didn't want one Syrian family in. The governor of Connecticut took pity, a Democrat, and took them in. So, that's how it's been dealt with on individual cases sometimes, not all the time.

But tell me, what -- who rules in this case?

YOHO: I think you are going to see the state win, because if you listen to Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution, the federal government must guarantee each state free from invasion. And they can't do this trying to resettle these people.

CAVUTO: I see.

YOHO: And this is not anti-Muslim, this is not anti-Syrian refugee. This is anti-terrorism and deals strictly with security of the United States of America.

And that is the number one goal of our federal government, is to provide for our common defense.

CAVUTO: You know what changed a lot of stuff, Congressman, and you're a better judge than I, is when 47 Democratic colleagues of yours agreed, not on this particular issue, but on the fact that we should sharpen our vetting of this and how we go about approving those who want to get into this country.


CAVUTO: That puts the president in a pickle, does it not, if he wants to veto this?

YOHO: Oh, man, it sure does.

And we have got veto-proof in the House with the SAFE Act that Chairman McCaul's bill that we passed.

CAVUTO: But you're assuming the Senate even takes this up. Right? Harry Reid has said he won't. What do you think of that?

YOHO: Well, it's irresponsible of Harry Reid to say that.

Again, this is -- we -- this is not a time to play politics. This is a time to do what's right for America. This is what is time to do what's right for national security.

When you have ISIS doing what they have done and the spread of what they have done, and your report just so eloquently pointed out that they found the same bomb-making materials in Brussels that was used in Paris.

CAVUTO: That's right.

YOHO: And that ISIS has said that American blood tastes sweeter. They're coming to the White House.

We need to take this threat seriously. And we need to make sure that the people that come here are who they say they are, because if you go back to the one of the terrorists back in Paris, one of those has a fake Syrian I.D. and passport. And the ones in Honduras, those are false Syrian passports. And then we have got a family down on our Southwest border.


CAVUTO: No, there's enough -- there's enough little dots to check off there.

YOHO: There sure are.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very, very much. I appreciate it.

YOHO: Neil, have a great day. And happy Thanksgiving.

CAVUTO: To you as well, sir. Thank you.

YOHO: Yes, sir.

CAVUTO: All right.

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