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House Passes Heightened Security Checks On Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

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The House has rebuked President Obama by ignoring his veto threat and approving a Republican bill erecting fresh barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the United States.

Thursday's passage came on a 289-137 vote — exceeding the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto.

The roll call came after White House officials visited the Capitol and lobbied Democrats to oppose the legislation. Dozens of them ended up joining Republicans, anyway, and supporting the measure.

In Kentucky, Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth opposed the measure. Republican Reps. Ed Whitfield, Brett Guthrie, Thomas Massie, Hal Rogers and Andy Barr voted for the bill.

NPR adds:
The bill — called the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act of 2015, or the American SAFE Act of 2015 — would require the secretary of Homeland Security, the head of the FBI and the director of national intelligence to sign off on every individual refugee from Iraq and Syria, affirming he or she is not a threat. The FBI director would also need to confirm that a background investigation, separate from the Homeland Security screening, had been conducted on each refugee.
NPR reports that its unclear if the Senate would take up the legislation.

The curbs would in effect suspend the entry of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. for months or years.

Republicans said tighter restrictions are needed following last week's Paris terrorist attacks. Obama and most Democrats said the system was already safe and the U.S. shouldn't abandon its tradition of accepting refugees.

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