US debate over immigration reshaped by Paris attacks

Immigration concept.On Tuesday legislators in the United States called for tighter security with regard to refugees from Syria entering the country, with the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris last week seeing the reshaping of the long-running debate over national security and immigration in America.

Republican leaders from the House of Representatives, who are concerned that the same thing could happen on US soil after the killing of 129 people in France on Friday, have threatened to suspend the efforts made by President Obama to enable another 10,000 Syrian immigrant refugees to enter the United States. Even many Democrats are calling for refugees to undergo more stringent vetting before they are allowed to resettle in the US in case they are linked to extremist groups.

With the campaign for the November 2016 presidential election heating up, the attacks have shifted Washington’s focus onto the issue of national security. “This is a moment where it is better to be safe than sorry,” noted Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, who is also the speaker of the House of Representatives. Ryan says the president’s program, which was announced in September with the intention of allowing 10,000 Syrian immigrant refugees per year to enter the United States, needs to be paused.

Democrat senator Ben Cardin, who is on the foreign relations committee, believes that the “strongest possible vetting process” needs to be adopted, while a number of other western nations have started questioning the wisdom of allowing in refugees.