House of Representatives Approved Stricter Refugee Screening Bill


Time: 8:52 p.m. CEST

The White House promised will veto the bill. 

The House of Representatives voted on Thursday in support of the new screening procedures for refugees arriving of Syria. The bill passed 289 to 137 with about 50 Democrats in support of the bill would require that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of the national intelligence to confirm that each applicant from Syria and Iraq poses no threat, says the New York Times.

The White House promised it will veto the bill, and said it would “undermine American leadership in a region where Republicans have said it is lacking, and would undercut Washington’s ability to command a coalition against the security threats in Syria,” the New York Times reported.

On Thursday, the White House offered details about the vetting process for Syrian refugees before the action in Congress from a news conference in Manila, where President Barack Obama participated at the APEC meeting. The president’s press secretary Josh Earnest explained the process the refugees pass before applying for asylum.

He said they undergo background checks, and must submit an in-person interview. Earnest said that we did see from French President Francois Hollande that France “intends to move forward with their commitment to accept 30,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years.”

“If the nation that has endured firsthand this heinous terrorist attack can follow through on their commitments to meet the basic humanitarian needs of Syrian citizens who are fleeing violence in their home country, surely the United States of America can muster the same courage,” Earnest said on Thursday.

Obama’s deputy national security adviser, Benjamin J. Rhodes said he doubted that Islamic State militants would risk going through the two-year process in order to enter the United States.

On Wednesday, Obama asked about the debate on the refugee issues he said, “I cannot think of a more potent recruitment tool for ISIL than some of the rhetoric that’s been coming out of here during the course of this debate.” Obama takes the stand that when “you start suggesting that Christians are more worthy protection than Muslims are in a war-torn land, that feeds the ISIL narrative.”

“It’s counterproductive, and it needs to stop,” Obama said on Wednesday, day before the House in Congress voted for more control in screening procedures, that already take between 18 and 24 months.

The Senate should discuss the bill after the Thanksgiving recess.

 

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