The U.S. should intensify its current military and diplomatic efforts to defeat DAESH extremists, U.S. presidential hopeful former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday, adding that the U.S. should accept Syrian refugees who flee violence and persecution.
With growing unwillingness, mainly from Republican politicians, to accept Syrian refugees in the U.S., Clinton said that if the country stops its resettlement plan for Syrians, it abandons its values and humanitarian obligations. "Turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against Muslims, slamming the door on every Syrian refugee, that is just not who we are," she said. "We should be doing more to ease this humanitarian crisis, not less," she added, pointing out: "Many of these refugees are fleeing the same terrorists who threaten us."
The U.S. House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to erect high hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to American shores, dividing the president's own Democratic party as lawmakers reflected the anxiety of voters back home.
The vote was 289-137, enough to override a threatened White House veto of the legislation, which was hurriedly drafted under new House Speaker Paul Ryan in response to the carnage in the streets of Paris last week. Forty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, despite President Barack Obama's biting criticism of its proposed limits. The bill would require new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from three high-ranking U.S. officials before any refugee could come to the U.S. from Iraq or Syria, where DAESH that has claimed credit for the attacks has flourished. Traveling in Asia this week, President Barack Obama mocked Congress and Republicans for yielding to "hysteria" and taking aim at "widows and orphans." The administration, which has announced plans to accept about 10,000 Syrian refugees in addition to the 2,500 who have settled here since 2011, says it already takes around 18-24 months on average for them to make it into this country. They must pass a battery of screening requirements including interviews overseas, fingerprinting and biometric investigations. Many are women and children and only about 2 percent are single men of combat age.