Congressman Says It's Hard to Determine If Refugees Are Terrorists

Comes amid a debate over allowing Syrian refugees in to America.

ByABC News
November 17, 2015, 7:02 PM

— -- A Montana congressman said that America should stop accepting Syrian refugees because it's difficult to tell whether they are terrorists or have ties to terrorists.

The moment came when Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., was interviewed alongside Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., as part of the "Good Morning America" “40 for 40” livestream explaining their views on whether Syrian refugees should be allowed to come to America.

Zinke told ABC that the refugee program should be re-examined and there is insufficient information about the backgrounds of the individuals hoping to be accepted into the United States.

"We need to vet them and there is no database overseas on the refugees," Zinke said.

"This is not from me this is from the FBI. The director of the FBI says there is no way we can determine under the current vetting process, whether they're terrorists or sympathizers. That's the facts. The fact is that our border is unsecure and people come across our border every day. The fact is that ISIS is in 50 states, that means ISIS is here in every state. The fact of the matter is thousands of refugees are coming across that we don't know who they are," he said.

Gutierrez disagreed, arguing that the process for refugees to come into the United States is "some of the best vetting, triple, quadruple vetting."

"Those who are coming to America will be properly vetted. ... Let's not turn our backs. We turned our backs before during World War II. We turned on Japanese and we turned our backs on Jews," Gutierrez said. “We regretted it then. We will regret turning our backs on the refugee community fleeing ISIS and terror."

More than half of the country's governors have spoken out on the issue, saying that they would like to ban Syrian refugees from settling in their state.