WASHINGTON — The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to slap stringent — and challenging to implement — new screening procedures on refugees from Syria searching for resettlement, seizing on the fear stemming from the Paris attacks and threatening to cloud President Obama’s Middle East policy.
The bill, which passed 289 to 137with practically 50 Democrats supporting it, would call for that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the secretary of the Division of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence confirm that every single applicant from Syria and Iraq poses no threat, a demand the White Home named “untenable.” The measure received significant assistance from Democrats, even right after administration officials implored them to abandon the measure on Thursday morning.
The Senate is expected to take up the measure following the Thanksgiving recess, but its fate in that chamber is unclear.
“Our duty is to safeguard the American folks,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the majority leader. The Home measure, he mentioned, “increases the requirements to hold those who want to do us harm out.”
The reputation of the measure in Congress comes as lawmakers in each parties refuse Mr. Obama’s request for an explicit authorization of force against the Islamic State, underscoring the complicated and polarized politics in the era of terror.
The White House, in promising to veto the bill, repeatedly mentioned it would undermine American leadership in a region where Republicans have stated it is lacking, and would undercut Washington’s ability to command a coalition against the security threats in Syria.
Halfway across the globe on a diplomatic mission to Asia, Mr. Obama fed the tensions with members of Congress and presidential candidates by belittling their issues, lashing out at them for becoming insensitive and condemning the suggestion that only Christian refugees, not Muslims, ought to be let in.
On Thursday, Denis McDonough, the White Property chief of staff, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson raced to the Capitol Hill to talk to Home Democrats, who had grow to be increasingly concerned about the politics of voting against the measure.
Speaking following a meeting on Thursday with Justin Trudeau, Canada’s new prime minister, Mr. Obama insisted that refugees have been subjected to “the most rigorous vetting approach that we have for anyone who is admitted.” He stated the process of screening a prospective refugee takes up to two years and consists of background checks by the national counterterrorism center, the F.B.I. and the Defense Department.
“That somehow they pose a much more substantial threat than all the vacationers who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jive with reality,” he stated.
Traveling in Asia with Mr. Obama, White Residence aides on Thursday scrambled to offer particulars about the vetting process for Syrian refugees in an work to head off criticism and action in Congress. Josh Earnest, the president’s press secretary, referred to as the interest of governors and other folks to comprehend the approach was “entirely reputable.”
Mr. Earnest stated refugees applying for asylum undergo background checks that gather “biographic and biometric” info, and must submit to an in-person interview.
He said the information is screened by international law enforcement agencies like Interpol in addition to American intelligence agencies. Benjamin J. Rhodes, Mr. Obama’s deputy national safety adviser, stated he doubted that Islamic State terrorists would danger going via that two-year procedure in order to enter the United States. But Mr. Obama and his aides also hinted that they had been caught off guard by the uproar more than refugees.
Many Democrats attempted to support Mr. Obama and his system on the Home floor. “We should preserve in mind that our nation was founded by immigrants and has historically welcomed refugees when there is suffering about the globe,” stated Representative John Conyers of Michigan, the highest-ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary committee.
“Rather than shutting our doors to these desperate males, females and kids who are risking their lives to escape death and torture in their homelands, we ought to operate to utilize our immense sources and good intentions of our citizens to welcome them,” he added.
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