Democrats block refugee screening bill

fba02f0b-8153-42cc-b11e-a9e39842eed7WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) — Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a bill that would block Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States unless they pass strict background checks.

The 55-43 vote fell short of the 60 “yes” votes needed to advance the bill already passed in the House. Senate Republicans voted unanimously for the bill with only two Democrats backing them.

The bill, already approved overwhelmingly in the House on a vote of 289 to 137 two months ago, would hold obliged heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security as well as national intelligency agencies to certify to the Congress that each Iraqi and Syrian refugee let into the United States is not a security threat.

Republicans argued that the stricter screening was crucial to ensure the homeland security as the White House was seeking to expand its resettlement program within the United States for refugees escaping from brutality by the extremist group the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Objection to receiving Syrian refugees also prevailed in the wake of Paris attacks, where at least 130 were killed and more than 350 were wounded.

According to a poll by Bloomberg released in the wake of the Paris attacks, 53 percent of U.S. adults say the Obama administration should not continue a program announced earlier this year to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees.

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