The need for a bill like H.R. 4314 was underlined Tuesday morning as Brussels came under attack. Thanks to the House Homeland Security Committee's bipartisan Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel, Congress is already en route to strengthen American security.
The lawmakers on the Homeland Security committee took one look at the lenient travel laws overseas and decided to do something about it. Their six-month review concluded that too many security gaps exist and the U.S. government inexcusably lacks a national strategy to combat terror travel. Their investigation has already resulted in several successful pieces of legislation, such as the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act and Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act. To that list the task force can add the Counterterrorism Screening and Assistance Act of 2016, which passed on Monday.
“Nearly 40,000 jihadists from around the world have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq with groups like ISIS,” said Chairman Michael McCaul. “Today the House acted decisively to shut down the jihadist superhighway that allows extremists to get to their safe havens—and return to the West, prepared to strike America and our allies. This legislation will streamline and elevate U.S. efforts to combat terrorist travel and make sure we are focusing our attention where it is needed most. I would like to thank Chairman Ed Royce, Rep. Lee Zeldin, and Rep. John Katko for their leadership on this issue.”
The bill requires departments and agencies to work together to stop terrorist travel - something that should have been done long ago. It also establishes minimal international standards to defeat terrorism and gives the secretary of state the authority to withhold aid to foreign governments that do not meet those guidelines.
Thirty-one people and more than 230 people were injured after Tuesday's barbaric attack in Brussels. Some leaders like Sen. Ted Cruz are putting part of the blame on Europe's relaxed immigration policies.
America's alarming tendency to conform to political correctness could result in the same tragic statistics, Cruz suggested.
In other words, strong legislation like this needs to be multiplied.