Obama expected to veto bill banning Syrian refugees
Over half of US governors said they would not welcome Syrian refugees, prompting Obama's move. (AFP/File)
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The White House on Wednesday threatened to veto a House bill that would suspend admission of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the US unless certified by security agencies as not a threat to the homeland.
"This legislation would introduce unnecessary and impractical requirements that would unacceptably hamper our efforts to assist some of the most vulnerable people in the world, many of whom are victims of terrorism, and would undermine our partners in the Middle East and Europe in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis," the White House said in a statement.
The bill, American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or American SAFE Act of 2015, is set to be voted on by the House later this week.
It charges the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and Director of National Intelligence with conducting enhanced investigations of Syrian refugees wishing to enter the US and comes after more than half of US governors announced they would not welcome Syrian refugees in their states after deadly attacks in Paris in which a Syrian passport was found near an alleged attacker.
The White House said the current screening process, which involves almost all federal intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies, is already rigorous enough to keep the country safe.
Screenings for all refugees include biometric and biographic checks, medical evaluations, and interviews, as well as additional investigations for those coming from Syria.
"Given the lives at stake and the critical importance to our partners in the Middle East and Europe of American leadership in addressing the Syrian refugee crisis, if the president were presented with H.R. 4038, he would veto the bill," the statement read referring to the bill. "Of the 2,174 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States since September 11, 2001, not a single one has been arrested or deported on terrorism-related grounds."
The US plans to admit 10,000 refugees from Syria during the 2016 fiscal year.
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