WASHINGTON – Congressman John Shimkus (R, Illinois-15), a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, today extended his thoughts and prayers to the French people and called for the U.S. to honor our commitment to NATO’s mutual defense in response to the terrorist attack in Paris over the weekend.
“France has been with us from the siege of Yorktown, to the beaches of Normandy, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the global war on terror,” said Shimkus. “My thoughts and prayers remain with the French people, our friends and oldest allies, during this dark time.”
Shimkus, who previously represented the United States Congress as a delegate to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, also echoed a call yesterday by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R, Texas-10) for a NATO coalition to defeat and destroy the Islamic State.
“President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls both called the attack by the Islamic State ‘an act of war’ against their country,” said Shimkus. “Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that ‘an armed attack against one’ alliance member is ‘an attack against them all.’ NATO should take steps to invoke Article 5, as they did after 9/11, and lead a coalition to rid the world of this menace.”
The treaty specifically requires that each NATO member undertake “such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
Shimkus also connected the attacks in Paris to our need to suspend refugee resettlement in the United States.
“I agree with Governor Rauner’s decision not to accept refugees in Illinois,” said Shimkus.“We want to be compassionate to the innocent among them, but it’s naïve to think that terrorists could not exploit our inability to adequately screen them all. The best thing we could to for the refugees is to defeat the Islamic State and negotiate a cease fire in the Syrian civil war that forced them out of their homes in the first place.”
To better protect our homeland, Congressman Shimkus cosponsored H.R. 3573, the Refugee Resettlement Oversight and Security Act today. This legislation would:
· Require affirmative approval by both the House and Senate before any refugees are admitted to the US;
· Allow Congress to block any inadequate refugee resettlement plan put forward by the President;
· Require the administration, when considering the admission of refugees from Iraq and Syria, to prioritize the resettlement of oppressed religious minorities; and
· Ensure the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the Director of National Intelligence and FBI, provide new security assurances before admitting refugees into the country and for the Governmental Accountability Office to conduct a sweeping review of security gaps in the current refugee screening process.