Friday, November 20, 2015

House Votes 289-137 To Hit "Pause" On Syrian Refugees Coming Into U.S.


Last night, the House voted 289-137 to pass a bill that would effectively stop a program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until those refugees are "certified" by national security agencies that they don't pose any security risk.

The vote was 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining 242 Republicans in favor of the bill, creating a majority that could override President Barack Obama's promised veto.

It's not sure if the bill will pass in the Senate; and if it does, would it have a similar veto-proof margin?

The current vetting process for refugees takes from 18 - 24 months, and includes several steps involving the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.

If the past proves as any kind of prelude, of the refugees who have come to the US from Syria so far, 50% are children, 25% are over the age of 60, and 2% are "combat age" males who emigrated without family members, according to Business Insider.

The Hill reports that, of those, none have been found to have committed any terrorist attacks in the US.

According to Lavinia Limon, of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, refugees already undergo the most intensive security screening process of any people allowed to enter the U.S.

“The average processing time is two years.” Limon added that the program purposely focuses on those who are the least likely to engage in terrorism.

“[T]he program emphasizes admitting the most vulnerable refugees including widows with children, the elderly, and infirm who are unlikely to pose a threat,” she said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

“We can be pretty confident about the screening that’s in place,” Newland said, and added that those who are taking jabs at it haven’t done their homework. “It seems to me that it’s a political gesture rather than anything based on real evidence that would be cause for concern.”

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