Caitlin MacNeal

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.

Articles by Caitlin

Tennessee state Rep. Glen Casada (R) on Wednesday said that if President Obama does not improve the vetting process for Syrian refugees, then states should act to "protect our citizens" by barring refugees from Syria.

Casada on Tuesday joined the chorus of Republican lawmakers calling for Syrian refugees to be barred from their states in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

He told The Tennessean that the state should activate the National Guard to block Syrian refugees from settling in Tennessee and that the state should "gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back" to a federally run immigration center.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on Tuesday said that the U.S. should stop taking in refugees from Syria, adding that the U.S. should even bar Christians from Syria.

"We should not be admitting either Muslims or Christians, and you’ll say, ‘Whoa why won’t you want to admit Christians?', because in so doing we would be accomplishing exactly what ISIS wants to accomplish, which is to rid the area of Christians, which is to rid the area of moderate Muslims," Santorum said on Pittsburgh radio show "Rose Unplugged," according to an audio clip highlighted by Buzzfeed News.

"By bringing them here to the United States, they will resettle here and they will never go home, which is exactly what ISIS wants. They want to decimate the Christian communities and take them over and them have controlled by the more radical Muslim elements," he continued

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A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee on Tuesday proposed that the state round up any Syrian refugees currently living in Tennessee and return them to immigration centers run by the federal government.

State Rep. Glen Casada (R), chairman of the House Republican caucus, told The Tennessean that the state should activate the National Guard to stop Syrian refugees "from coming in to the state by whatever means we can."

"I'm not worried about what a bureaucrat in D.C. or an unelected judge thinks," Casada added. "We need to gather (Syrian refugees) up and politely take them back to the ICE center and say, 'They’re not coming to Tennessee, they’re yours.'"

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President Obama on Tuesday night tore into Republicans' recent focus on barring Syrian refugees from the United States following the terrorist attacks in Paris, mocking conservatives for suddenly being scared of "three-year-old orphans."

During a press conference with the president of the Philippines, Obama was asked about lawmakers' concern about the U.S. plan to admit additional refugees from Syria.

Obama said that the U.S. is "not well-served when, in response to a terrorist attack, we descend into fear and panic. We don't make good decisions if it's based on hysteria or an exaggeration of risks."

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Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), the chairman of the House Science Committee, on Friday made another attempt to force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to hand over internal documents about a study on climate change.

Smith wrote a letter to Commerce Secretary Pritzker, calling on her to direct the NOAA to comply with Smith's subpoenas, Ars Technica reported.

The House Republican has been pressing the NOAA for months for more information on a June study in an attempt to show that researchers altered data to prove that global warming has slowed over the past few years. The study released by the the NOAA in June contradicted some previous studies that found that global warming had slowed.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday clarified that he believes the U.S. should continue to accept refugees from Syria.

Over the weekend, as many conservatives called for restrictions on refugees from Syria in light of the recent attacks in Paris, Bush said that the U.S. should focus on bringing over persecuted Christians from Syria.

"The great majority of refugees need to be safely kept in Syria. Which means the safe zones need to be serious," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I do think we have a responsibility to help with refugees after proper screening. And I think or focus ought to be on the Christians who have no place in Syria anymore. They're being beheaded, they're being executed by both sides. And I think we have a responsibility to help."

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More than two dozen governors this week have said that their states will not accept refugees from Syria in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris, yet states do not have the authority to turn away refugees.

Admission for immigrants and refugees is decided at the federal level and states have no "formal" role in the process, according to Kathleen Newland, co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute.

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Monday joined the chorus of Republican governors and Republican presidential candidates pushing for restrictions on U.S. admission of Syrian refugees, but he said he would even oppose allowing 5-year-old Syrian orphans into the country.

"I don’t trust this administration to effectively vet the people who are proposed to be coming in, in order to protect the safety and security of the American people, so I would not permit them in," Christie told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

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As numerous Republican governors announce that they will not accept Syrian refugees in their states, members of Congress have started to put pressure on Congressional leaders to restrict funds allocated for settling refugees from Syria from the government spending bill.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) on Monday wrote a letter to his colleagues urging them to restrict President Obama's ability to increase funding allocated for settling refugees in the U.S.

Sessions wants Congress to vote on Obama's plan to accept refugees, which is currently included in the funding bill that must pass in December.

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