New US refugee plan faces opposition in Congress

September 22, 2015 08:42
Syrian refugees in a overcrowded dinghy arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast on Sept. 20. Photo: Reuters

The Obama administration's plan to allow thousands more refugees into the United States faces stiff opposition in the US Congress, Reuters reported.

Republican lawmakers have demanded the right to review, and reject, the plan, citing fears that Islamist fighters might sneak into the country under the guise of refugees, it noted.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday announced an increase of 15,000 per year for the next two years in the number of refugees the country takes in.

He did not say how many would be from Syria.

Under current law, Congress does not have to approve the Democratic administration's plan.

But the House of Representatives and Senate, both controlled by Republicans, would have to appropriate money to pay for any expanded effort.

There is support for the effort in Congress, but it would not be an easy sell, Reuters noted.

Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, chairman of a Senate immigration subcommittee and a critic of President Barack Obama's immigration policy, called the plan expensive and dangerous.

"Our schools, job markets and public resources are already stretched too thin. And, even at current rates, we have no capacity to screen for extremist ideology," Sessions said.

Some Republicans running for president in the November 2016 election have also invoked terrorism fears as they warned against admitting more people.

- Contact us at [email protected]