Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GOP seeks middle ground on refugees: More scrutiny but no ban

WASHINGTON — Threading the political needle on the issue of allowing Syrian refugees into the United States after the deadly Paris terrorist attacks is proving to be a daunting task for Republicans in Congress.

Seeking to balance public fears of a Paris-style attack on U.S. soil with the nation's tradition of welcoming oppressed people of all stripes, the House of Representatives is expected to vote today on a GOP plan that would prevent Iraqi and Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States unless the government can certify that they are not a terrorist threat.

"We've found a very reasonable approach that doesn't say ban all refugees, that doesn't say ban all certain categories of people," Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., the author of the bill, said Wednesday. "It says we need to stop unless and until we can adequately vet these folks."

The move comes as Americans are lining up against allowing more Syrian refugees into the United States. By a margin of 56-41 percent, they disapprove of letting more refugees into the country, according to a new NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released Wednesday evening.

If Hudson and Republican leaders are trying for the middle, they found their plan under fire from liberals and conservatives alike.

Most Democrats oppose it, arguing that it would be so restrictive that it would end the refugee program altogether. They also worry that the bill's call for enhanced screening will filter out refugees based on religion, an assertion fueled, in part, by GOP presidential candidates such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

"We believe that turning our backs on those escaping persecution, many of them religious minorities and victims of terrorism, runs counter to the proud and generous heritage of the United States — a country of immigrants — that has always helped those in need in the most trying times," said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

President Barack Obama signaled Wednesday he would veto the new plan if it passed the Senate and reached his desk. The White House said it would add "unnecessary and impractical requirements" to the existing screening process.

Some conservative groups also are urging Republicans to vote against the measure, saying that Obama's administration can't be trusted to establish screening procedures that will guarantee a terrorist won't be among the 10,000 Syrian refugees the White House wants to allow in the country.

Instead, they argue, Republicans should defund the refugee program through a must-pass government funding bill next month — a move that could lead to a government shutdown.

Heritage Action, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that "lawmakers should deny funding to this program" until the administration comes up with a plan aimed at easing any security threats posed by the resettlement program.

Hudson's proposal would require the FBI director and the director of national intelligence to certify that any refugee admitted to the United States is not a security threat. It also would mandate that the FBI director affirm that background checks were conducted on all admitted refugees by agreed-upon standards.

GOP seeks middle ground on refugees: More scrutiny but no ban 11/18/15 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 10:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Evening update: Tropical Storm Harvey forms in Atlantic, second wave follows

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 8 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  2. Trump 'beautiful statues' tweets roil Tampa Bay's own Confederate debate

    National

    It started Thursday at 9:07 a.m., as it does so often these days, with a tweet:

    The Memoria in Aeterna Confederate monument stands in front of the old Hillsborough County Courthouse. Hillsborough County Commissioners voted 4-2 last month to move it to a private cemetery in Brandon before voting again this week to put a deadline on a public sector fundraising campaign to pay part of the cost. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Rays waste repeated opportunities in 5-3 loss to Blue Jays

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Rays manager Kevin Cash made a case for urgency before Thursday's game, in both actions and words, making significant changes to the structure of the lineup and sincere comments about time running short.

    Trevor Plouffe of the Rays reacts as he pops out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. [Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]
  4. Spanish PM voices solidarity with Barcelona

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.

    An injured person is treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. [Associated Press]
  5. Confederate statue: Why Bucs, Lightning, Rays took a stand

    Bucs

    They didn't want another Charlottesville.

    Marc Rodriguez, a member of the "Florida Fight for $15" organization, stands in protest along with other activists demanding the Confederate  monument be removed from the old Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]