On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would halt the immigration of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States.
The bill, defying a veto threat by President Obama, would suspend President Barack Obama’s program to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year, as well as strengthen the process of screening for refugees from both Syria and Iraq.
The Republican-backed bill was approved on a vote of 289 to 137. According to Republicans, this step is important following a terrorists attack in Paris on Friday, killing more than 120 people.
The White House in September announced a program under which 10,000 Syrian refugees will be admitted to U.S. over the next year. The bill would halt this program, as Republicans believe that, in light of the current situation, the national security is at stake.
The legislation would mandate the top security executives – FBI director, the Department of Homeland Security director, and the director of national intelligence — to make sure that U.S. has no security risk from refugees who will be admitted.
The Obama administration sees such screening as impractical and impossible. According to the officials, they already implemented a rigorous screening process, which takes up to 24 months. The legislation, according to opponents, would shut down the program.
It’s still uncertain what move the Senate will make on this bill.
According to a news report by Politico, this anti-refugee bill could halt visas for Iraqi translators, who worked with the U.S. military in Iraq. Refugee advocates say that these Iraqi translators and other staff are on the hit list of the Islamic State and other militant groups due to their work with the American government and other U.S. organizations.
The bill would create problems for the Iraqi translators, who work with the U.S. troops and their rescue is a priority for the military. According to the International Refugee Assistance Project, those Iraqi translators are among the 58,000 or more Iraqis who worked with the U.S. They are still awaiting for visa processing.
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