Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are beginning to realize that the United States' refugee program is something that needs examining, but at the same time, the visa waiver program "probably poses a much great risk to us," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Thursday.
"Security for our own citizens is the most important responsibility we have," the Tennessee Republican told Fox News' "America's Newsroom"
host Bill Hemmer.
"Yes, we want people traveling to our country, but we want to make sure they have all been vetted in the appropriate way."
President Barack Obama is threatening to veto
a bill from the House that will strengthen background checks and vetting for refugees coming in from Syria, but Corker said it's important to come up with a solution that shows both compassion for the refugees while protecting the United States.
But the Visa waiver program, which allows people to come into the United States from a multitude of countries, including the European Union, and stay on a visitor's visa for up to 90 days is even more worrisome, as there are gaps that could pose a security threat.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., are introducing a bill Thursday about the waiver program
, noted Corker, and he thinks the debate will continue to expand, even if Obama continues to stand firm on the refugee question.
"I do hope we are able to hit the sweet spot where we show compassion to people who are destitute," said the Tennessee senator, who told Hemmer he has visited the Syrian refugee camps.
"But the fact is, again, we want to make sure they are all vetted. Do we have that capacity in Syria where there are no government records to bounce off against? We are looking at this seriously, both sides of the aisle are concerned, and my guess is this will end up not being partisan at the end of the day."
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