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Clinton Blasts Congress, GOP on Refugees

Hillary Clinton is often a hawk in her own right. However, she came to the defense of Syrian refugees on Thursday and slammed the GOP and Congress for failing families in need.

“We cannot allow terrorists to intimidate us into abandoning our values and our humanitarian obligations,” the former secretary of State and top Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

“Turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against Muslims, slamming the door on every Syrian refugee — that is just not who we are,” she said, in comments that echoed President Obama’s fiery criticism of calls to limit refugees. “We are better than that.

“It would be a cruel irony indeed if ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] can force families from their homes and then also prevent them from ever finding new ones.”

The Hill reports:

Clinton took especial umbrage at calls from GOP presidential candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, to specifically limit Muslim refugees fleeing to the U.S.

Though details of their plans remain unclear, the two have doubled down on their insistence that Christian refugees pose less of a national security threat to the country than Muslims.

“We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees with the Christians that are being slaughtered,” Bush said this weekend.

“I just don’t think we should have religious tests about who we should bring into our country,” Clinton reiterated on Thursday.

Concerns about the refugees have peaked this week, following indications that one of the people involved in Friday evening’s massacre in Paris entered Europe while posing as a refugee fleeing the chaos in Syria.

On Thursday, the House delivered a stinging rebuke to the White House, with a nearly veto-proof majority backing legislation temporarily halting Obama’s proposal to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country this year. The White House has threatened to veto the bill, but 47 House Democrats nonetheless supported it.

Instead of interfering with Obama’s agenda, Clinton said, lawmakers should work to beef up the current screening process.

Properly vetting thousands of refugees “is hard under any circumstances,” Clinton said, but becomes more difficult when their home country remains awash in a bloody civil war.

“Congress needs to make sure the necessary resources are provided for comprehensive background checks, drawing on the best intelligence we can get,” she added. “And we should be taking a close look at safeguards in the visa programs as well.”

Democrats are eyeing plans to reform the visa program, which allows tourists from dozens of countries oversees to enter the U.S. with much less stringent checks.

“Congress should be providing us the resources to be doing it right now, instead of trying to stop it,” Clinton insisted.

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Photo credit: CNN.

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