Nov. 20, 2015 By Michael Florio
Congressman Joseph Crowley voted against a controversial bill yesterday that would essentially halt Syrian and Iraqi refugees from coming to the United States.
Congressman Joseph Crowley spoke out against the bill (H.R. 4038) which calls for increasing the screening process for refugees trying to make it into America.
Despite Crowley’s vote, the bill passed by a veto-proof count of 289-137 and will now go onto the senate.
Should the bill become law, it would require refugees attempting to enter the United States to undergo an additional background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
This would be on top of the current process, which includes a background check by the Department of Homeland Services (DHS).
Under the bill refugees would only be admitted with unanimous agreement from the FBI, DHS and Director of National Intelligence.
If enacted, the bill would likely pause the screening process for a short time, while new background check procedures are developed, and then lengthen the time the screening process takes.
“I opposed this legislation because its sole outcome would be to substantially delay or even end the admission of women and children fleeing Syria and Iraq into the U.S.,” Crowley said.
The refugee screening process already takes 18 to 24 months and includes interviews, fingerprinting and database crosschecks by several government agencies, according to published reports.
“These are innocent people who have been brutalized by both their own government as well as Daesh (ISIS),” Crowley added.
“Protecting the American people from terrorism and providing protection to thoroughly vetted refugees are not mutually exclusive,” he said.
“The U.S. has long stood with those fleeing violence and persecution, and I believe we can – and must – stay true to our values while ensuring our national security.”
This bill was brought to the floor following attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead and many more injured.