In a 289-137 vote largely along party lines, the House of Representatives today voted to block the admittance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the United States. The bill places hugely onerous restrictions on the admittance of such refugees, which is meant to effectively halt the entire process.
Under the American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act, every single Iraqi or Syrian refugee who wants to be admitted will need a certification from the FBI Director on their background check, as well as three different certifications from the FBI Director, the Homeland Security Secretary, and the Director of National Intelligence that the individual refugee is “not a threat.”
While in theory this means refugees could still come, in practice it will grind the entire process to a halt, and this appears to be by design, ensuring that no refugees at all are being admitted from either Iraq or Syria as well as anyone who’s even been to Iraq or Syria in the last four years.
Since Friday’s attacks in Paris, there has been a growing backlash against refugees, particularly among US Republicans. This was based largely on rumors, which turned out to be false, of a refugee being among the attacks. Germany’s Interior Minister said he believes a refugee passport was planted at one of the sites as a “false flag” by ISIS to make things harder for the refugees, and by all indications this is working.