As states balk on refugees, feds look to salvage program

Senior US officials are defending their program for accepting Syrian refugees and insisting that screening is stringent enough to prevent letting extremists slip into the country.

Around half of the governors of the 50 US states, along with Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican speaker of the House of Representatives, have urged Obama to suspend a plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year.

President Barack Obama’s government is looking to brush aside threats from state governors to block the resettlement effort, arguing that it is a federal policy and legitimate refugees must enjoy freedom of movement.

But officials admitt that, after fears stirred by last week’s massacre in Paris, they are now wary of losing the support of the public and Congress for America’s four-decade policy of welcoming refugees.

A senior administration official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, calls the program “a proud American tradition that not only saves lives but also enriches our country and our nation.”


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