A new bill will be introduced and voted on in the House on Thursday which would increase screening for certain refugees before allowing them entry into the United States. The refugees affected would be those fleeing Syria and Iraq. Some Republicans have demanded that Syrian refugees be subjected to religious screenings, but this legislation only addresses additional FBI background checks.
The White House has said that if passed this legislation would introduce "unnecessary and impractical requirements" on those who are most vulnerable. President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any bill that increases screening requirements for those vulnerable refugees, calling the proposed bill "untenable". The legislation would require the FBI to determine a way to conduct "thorough background investigations" on refugees who are often fleeing unimaginable chaos and horrors, with only the clothes on their backs. The American Press reports that "Syrians tend to be heavily documented", this additional screening requirement would be completely impractical.
Currently, the United States has only accepted about 2,200 Syrian refugees over the last four years. These refugees had to undergo a rigerious vetting process which can take up to three years to complete, and already includes biometric screening, fingerprinting, and other controls listed as "classified".
Obama spoke passionately about the refugee crisis at the G20 summit in Turkey on Monday (November 16), saying that "slamming the door in their faces would be a betrayal of our values. Our nations can welcome refugees who are desperately seeking safety and ensure our own safety". He called Republican fear-mongering "hysterical" and even went so far as to cite it as a "potent recruitment tool" and that "it needs to stop".