Saturday, September 24, 2016

Protecting Our Homeland

Phil Roe
by Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee - I want to begin this week’s column by sending my thoughts and prayers to those across the country, particularly Minnesotans, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, who were targeted by senseless acts of terrorism over the weekend. Unfortunately, these attacks are seemingly becoming the new normal in our country, and it’s clearer than ever that these radical Islamic terrorists present a serious threat to our security. The cowards who carry out these acts are weak, and desperately want to change the way we live our lives. As Americans, we must unite in our resolve to eliminate this evil from our country and world.
Now, more than ever, we need to take strategic and concrete steps to protect and secure our homeland. That’s why House Republicans put forward a plan including 67 recommendations to keep Americans safe and free, both at home and abroad. This plan is a better way.

First and foremost, this proposal would help keep terrorists and other criminals out of the United States by securing our border and closing loopholes in our immigration system. I’ve repeatedly said that border security must be one of our top priorities, and fixing our broken immigration system will go a long way toward keeping Americans safe at home. Further, recent disclosures that at least 858 individuals were improperly granted citizenship by the Department of Homeland Security undermines the confidence Americans have in our country’s ability to keep us safe. These serious shortcomings must be addressed. Not all who wish to enter this country are violent criminals or terrorists, but it is well known our borders are not secure. We must be realistic about the fact there are individuals who will prey on and take advantage of this weakness.
Our proposal streamlines security programs and improves the way information about potential threats is shared. It takes steps to prevent domestic recruitment and radicalization and ensures there are plans in place to both respond to and recover from terrorist attacks. Additionally, law enforcement and first responders must have the tools and resources they need to respond to threats and attacks, and this plan includes proposals to provide those necessary resources. Still, Islamic terrorism isn’t just a threat to the United States; it’s a threat to the world, which is why we can’t fight this battle alone.

That’s why the Better Way plan includes measures to hold our allies accountable. We need buy-in from all peaceful nations to eliminate this threat and keep terrorists from bringing the battle to our shores. I strongly believe President Obama’s passive approach to foreign policy and his lack of strategy to defeat ISIS is partially why this and other terrorist organizations continue to have the ability to recruit and train new fighters. ISIS is not the “JV team” as President Obama has called them, and we need an aggressive plan to defeat this enemy in their stronghold. We also need our foreign allies to join us in winning the war of ideas. This war isn’t just a physical one; it’s a war we must fight from a physical and ideological perspective if we expect to win.

America is still the greatest country in the world, but there’s no question we’ve lost power on the world stage. Many of our allies question our leadership, and our enemies question our strength. This is a direct result of the Obama administration’s failure to keep their word and stand toe-to-toe with aggressors like Russia and Iran. In fact, just this week, the House is voting on a series of bills to bring transparency to our dealings with Iran by demanding a report on the finances of Iranian leaders and stopping future ransom payments by acknowledging the administration violated longstanding U.S. policy when they paid ransom in exchange for the release of Americans being held in Iran.
For almost eight years, the Obama presidency has led our country in the wrong direction, especially when it comes to national security. There is a better way, and you can read the full Better Way plan to make our nation strong and secure at

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