Democrats blocked the Syrian refugee bill that would slow down the entry of Middle Eastern immigrants into America.
Democrats in the American Senate blocked the Syrian refugee bill – a legislation that would slow the movement of refugees from Iraq and Syria into the US. It was a contentious vote in the background of the coming presidential elections in America.
The vote was a close 55 – 43. The ‘yes’ votes fell short of the 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, required for advancing the measures proposed by Republicans. Apart from other things, the Syrian refugee bill will also stop the entry of refugees requiring verifications from high-level American officials that the said refugee from the Middle East does not pose a threat to US citizens.
Only after this verification is obtained, a refugee will be able to enter the US. Republican senators have stated that the tight measures are necessary in order to ensure that Americans remain safe. It is also needed to prevent attacks inside the US by militants posing as refugees.
Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of the Republican Party said that the bipartisan Syrian refugee bill would offer Washington an opportunity to step back and let the security apparatus do its job.
Democrats are calling the Syrian refugee bill an attack on the people who are fleeing war-torn areas of the Middle East. Republicans are also accused of holding the controversial vote in a bid to allow their next presidential candidates presently in the Senate to back the legislation which is seen as a tough measure on the issue of security.
The three Republicans in the Senate who are presidential hopefuls – Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – backed the Syrian refugee bill. Bernie Sanders, the presidential candidate from the Democratic Party missed the vote.
Democratic members also tried to play politics. They attempted, but failed, to cut a deal with the Republicans so that a vote can be set up on an amendment for establishing religious tests for all the immigrants who are seeking resettlement within the US.
This vote was proposed in order to gauge if the Republicans will come out against the presidential candidate Donald Trump. The outspoken business tycoon is advocating barring the entry of Muslims into America.
The house passed the Syria refugee bill by a hefty margin only a few days after the Paris attacks in November last year. Several Democrats supported the bill despite the president’s warning that he will exercise his veto powers if such a bill was passed.
The Democratic leader of the Senate told the reporters that members need to concentrate their efforts on defeating extremism rather than creating more paperwork for secretaries.
Presently, it takes around 24 months for refugees from Syria to get through with the screening process before they can enter the US.
Millions of refugees are fleeing Syria, Iraq and other war zones in the Middle East, most of them towards Europe. Last year, the president announced that he will admit 10,000 Syrians, a far lesser number compared to US allies in Europe and the Middle East.