How Colorado Represenatives voted in House decision to limit Syrian refugees

WASHINGTON - Colorado congressman Jared Polis is one of 47 Democrats who joined with House Republicans to support making it harder for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to enter the United States.

The measure passed Thursday would in effect suspend admissions of those refugees. It would require the FBI to conduct background checks and oblige security and intelligence officials to certify that each refugee is not a threat.

Polis says he supports improving what he says is an already extensive vetting system as well as raising the number of refugees to be admitted this year above the Obama administration's planned increase.

His office gave this statement to Denver7: 

“I support allowing greater numbers of refugees fleeing violence — beyond the Administration's suggested number of 10,000 — to find safety here, and I support improving our vetting system to ensure that those we admit will make our country safer and stronger.

The SAFE Act enables us to continue accepting refugees while strengthening our already-extensive vetting process so that we are taking every step within our power to ensure the safety of the American people. Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve forcefully advocated for enabling children and families whose lives have been torn apart by violence to take refuge in the United States, and I very much want to see the United States accept more refugees of all faiths fleeing from ISIS.”

“Republicans are right with a valid point," Polis said in an interview with Denver7's Marc Stewart. "We need to do better at vetting of people we admit as refugees.  The Democrats are right we need to allow more, greater numbers, so I think we should couple those two."

“What do you say to your critics?” asked Stewart.

“You certainly can’t please everybody but I’ve always advocated a common sense approach,” said Polis. 

Fellow Democrat Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Diana DeGette, meanwhile, voted for the Democrats' alternative measure. Backers say it would have added another layer of scrutiny and would have taken 18 to 24 months to process refugees.

All of Colorado's Republican representatives, Mike Coffman, Ken Buck, Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn, voted along party lines.

The fate of the bill is uncertain. It’s possible the Senate may not take a vote on the bill, something Coffman, from Aurora, hopes doesn't happen.

“It seems to be willing to sacrifice the security of Americans at the alter of political correctness, I would certainly urge them to rethink that,” he said.

Minority Leader Harry Reid said he will try to block the bill.


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