WASHINGTON (AP) – A State Department official is defending America’s refugee resettlement program – hours before a House vote on legislation that would raise new hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees entering the United States.
Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard tells a House Judiciary Committee panel that refugees face intensive screening by several federal intelligence, security and law enforcement agencies, including the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center.
The House bill was written after Islamic State militants killed 129 people in Paris.
The measure would require the FBI to conduct background checks on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. It would require the heads of the FBI and Homeland Security Department and the director of national intelligence to certify that each refugee is not a threat to national security.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is vowing to veto the bill. The White House says the legislation would introduce “unnecessary and impractical requirements” that would harm efforts to assist some of the world’s most vulnerable people.