Rep. Hultgren Pushing Bill to Help Christian Refugees
Rep. Randy Hultgren, co-sponsor of a bill that would ease the plight of Christians persecuted by the Islamic State (ISIS), says suppression of religious freedom around the world is at the boiling point.
"It just breaks my heart," Hultgren, an Illinois Republican, said Wednesday to J.D. Hayworth on "Newsmax Prime."
"Religious freedom is a fundamental right and giving up the ability to believe what we want to believe and pursue our own religious beliefs really is the first step towards totalitarian control.
"That is my fear of what we're seeing in many of these Middle Eastern countries as you talk about the statistics of how dramatically Christian populations have been weeded out, so sad."
House Resolution 1568 — the "Protecting Religious Minorities Persecuted by ISIS Act of 2015 — was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Juan Vargas, a California Democrat.
If passed, it will require the secretary of state to "report to Congress a plan to expedite the processing of refugee admissions applications" for religious groups threatened by threatened by ISIS.
"These powers coming in [are] forcing people from their homes with no time to prepare, no time to pack, and when they are on the run literally for their lives, oftentimes they don't have documentation with them," Hultgren said.
So what this legislation would do is allow them some refuge, a place to be able to come when they don't have that paperwork in place, when the reason they've been driven away and forced from their home is because of their religious beliefs, which we see so often."
But Hultgren, a member of the House Committee on Financial Services, said the bill would also have checks and balances as far as background and security checks to protect Americans.
"It's not opening up threats to us. There is protection there," Hultgren said.
"It's always with that ultimate thought … that we're protecting our own sovereignty [and] at the same time recognizing that Christians around the world are being persecuted."
Hayworth also asked Hultgren about who he will support for the upcoming vote for a new House Speaker.
The congressman said he has not yet made up his mind between the three candidates vying to replace John Boehner: Reps. Kevin McCarthy of California, Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida.
But he added, "The biggest thing for me is we've got to change how the House is running.
"I want to hear who's got that plan, who can bring us together, who can empower individual members of Congress. We are a unique institution."