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Terror Charges Against Iraqis Feed Sentiment Against Refugees

The arrest on terror charges this week of two Iraqis who entered the United States as refugees is fueling sentiment in Congress against the program for resettling refugees from the Middle East.

Legislation to prevent any further resettlement of refugees was considered in Congress last year after the terrorist attacks in Paris, but was set aside when the White House agreed to more limited curbs on visas for people who traveled to Syria, Iraq, Iran, or Sudan.

But on January 8, after two Iraqi refugees were charged with planning terrorist attacks, some legislators called for a revival of the more punitive legislation.

"How many ticking time bombs are we going to bring in in this refugee program without a proper vetting system in place?" Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, asked.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy urged the Senate to vote on legislation that passed the House in November that would require new FBI background checks and other steps before any refugee could come to the United States from Iraq or Syria, where the Islamic State group is based.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP