House Passes Bill That Would Restrict Syrian And Iraqi Refugees
On Thursday, the US House of Representatives voted to further restrict America's program giving Syrian refugees safe haven in the United States.
The bill, titled American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, passed with near-unanimous support from Republicans and 47 Democrats backing the measure, Mother Jones reports.
Homeland Security Committee Chairman, and one of the bill's sponsors, Michael McCaul said Wednesday,
We cannot afford to play Russian roulette with our national security.
The new bill calls for increased vetting of all refugees including "supplemental certifications and background investigations."
It will also require personal certification from the secretary of homeland security, the FBI director and the director of national intelligence that each individual refugee is "not a threat" to the United States.
Of the bill, Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, says,
This rash reaction ignores the fact that all of the Paris attackers identified thus far are either French or Belgian, and that many terrorist threats are homegrown.
The bill will not end the refugee program here in the US, but rather, increase security measures, making it far more difficult and time-consuming for refugees to actually resettle in the US.
As Mother Jones notes, the current process already takes 18 months to three years to complete.
Obama has promised to veto the bill; however, because the house has a majority vote, it could potentially override Obama's veto.
In a statement, the White House said the bill would "unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism."
Minority Leader Harry Reid says Democrats will attempt to block the bill in the Senate, CNN reports.