Bipartisan legislation that strengthens tracking capabilities for jihadist travelers seeking safe havens beyond Iraq and Syria was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today. The Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act was introduced by House members of the Foreign Fighter Task Force as a result of key findings which can be found in their September 2015 Final Report on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel.
“ISIS has explicitly encouraged fighters who cannot make it to Iraq and Syria to join their struggle in other locations,” said U.S. Representative Will Hurd, a member of the Foreign Fighter Task Force and driving force for Congressional leadership in the fight against ISIS. “Tracking foreign fighters who travel to Iraq and Syria alone is not enough to mitigate the threat they pose to our national security. These terrorist safe havens throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa can be used for bad guys planning attacks against the U.S. and migration trends can change on a dime. This legislation proactively supports our intelligence community’s efforts to stop terrorists in their tracks.”
The task force report expresses that in addition to Syria and Iraq, ISIS operatives are urging followers to travel to safe havens in 19 countries throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In order to keep diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, and policy resources ahead of evolving foreign fighter flows, the bill requires the intelligence community to provide Congress with regular updates on extremist migration and terrorist sanctuaries outside of Iraq and Syria.
The Tracking Foreign Fighters in Terrorist Safe Havens Act passed in the House with a final vote of 423-0 and has been sent to the Senate.