In a setback to refugees hoping to migrate to the US, the Senate Democrats narrowly blocked a legislation that would slow the entry of refugees from Syria and Iraq to the United States. The issue has become contentious in an election year.
The Senate voted 55-43, with “yes”. The votes fell short of the 60 needed to advance the Republican-backed measure in the 100-member Senate. The bill aims to stop the admission of refugees and require high-level US officials to verify that each refugee from Iraq and Syria posed no security risk before being allowed into the country.
The senators stated that tighter screening was essential to ensure the safety of Americans to prevent attacks within the country by Islamic State and other militant groups. “This bipartisan bill would allow Washington to step back, take a breath and ensure it has the correct policies and security screenings in place,” Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in the Senate before the vote.
Democrats called the legislation an attack on people who are fleeing war. They have accused the Republicans of holding the vote to allow their 2016 presidential candidates serving in the Senate to back the legislation. The 2016 presidential hopefuls from the Republican party, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, have all backed the bill.
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