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Paul Ryan: There Will Be No Religious Test For Syrian Refugees

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 18/11/2015 Laura Barron-Lopez
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WASHINGTON -- Legislation to restrict the flow of Syrian refugees into the United States will not include a religious test, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on Wednesday.

In the wake of the Paris attacks, some Republicans have called for the U.S. to accept only Christian refugees fleeing Syria, not Muslims. Many GOP governors have also said their states will not accept Syrian refugees.

"I will also point out that we will not have a religious test only a security test," Ryan said in one of his first speeches as speaker on the House floor.

The House will take up legislation this week that will effectively "pause" the Syrian refugee program. The administration has stuck by its plan to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees this fiscal year, despite increased scrutiny from members of Congress. 

The plan introduced by Republicans would mandate that officials at the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence certify to Congress each month that each Syrian or Iraqi refugee admitted is not threat to security. The bill also stipulates that the FBI would need to certify that each refugee admitted received a background check.

"People understand the plight of those fleeing the Middle East," Ryan said. "But they also want basic assurances for the safety of this country."

"It would mean a pause in the program until we can be certain beyond any doubt that those coming here are not a threat," Ryan continued. "And I don’t think it’s asking too much."

While in Manila on Tuesday, President Barack Obama scolded the GOP for it's anti-refugee rhetoric, calling the idea to only allow Christian refugees into the U.S. "offensive."

The White House has tried to reassure lawmakers and governors in recent days that its screening process of refugees is rigorous and extensive. 

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