House Republicans to pass refugee background check bill

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – House Republicans are expected to pass a bill on Thursday, with possibly some Democratic support, that will step-up background checks on refugees from Syria.

France’s president said despite attacks on his people in Paris he still plans to allow 30,000 Syrian refugees across the nation’s borders in the next two years.

The tone here in the U.S. is much different.

“It is inappropriate to bring them onto U.S. soil where their intent is to harm our citizens and our way of life,” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said.

Congresswoman Blackburn is one of the House Republicans determined to stop Syrian refugees from reaching the U.S. She said the background checks already in place don’t do enough.

“Who are you going to call in Syria?” Blackburn said. “What 800 number do you call to figure out if someone is who they say they are?”

The U.S. plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next two years. Some are already here.

“I think there should be a one-year moratorium on Syrian refugees coming into the United States until we have a system that we know is foolproof and know can work,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said.

Democrats are more divided on what to do. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said a hold on allowing more refugees may be needed, but others like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) think the current system works fine.

“I think we should have tough vetting standards. And to the extent they don’t get through – then they won’t come into this country,” Kaine said. “But if they make it – they shouldn’t be blocked because they already suffered the worst humanitarian atrocity since WWII.”

Republicans may try to stop Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. by attaching a new policy to a big budget deal lawmakers must pass by Dec. 11th.

It is unclear if any bill banning refugees or stepping up background checks will have enough support in the Senate.

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