President Barack Obama continues to defend his call to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into the country, comparing the situation to pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower during his Thanksgiving address.
“In 1620, a small band of pilgrims came to this continent, refugees who had fled persecution and violence in their native land,” he said. “Nearly 400 years later, we remember their part in the American story — and we honor the men and women who helped them in their time of need.”
The commander in chief went on to say he is touched by letters sent to him by supporters of his plan.
“Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims — men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” he continued.
Recent polls show 60 percent of Americans oppose the idea in the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris.
The president stressed refugees will have to go through strong security checks before entering the country, but some lawmakers are skeptical the United States has the capability to vet the amount of people Obama is calling for.
“Up till now, the small number of Syrians allowed in the country has enabled us to take prudent measures to screen them,” Rep. Pat Meehan said in a statement last week. “But the dramatic increase in refugee admissions the administration seeks will preclude that. We simply have no ability to vet vast numbers of refugees from Syria at this time.”
The House recently passed a bill requiring the Homeland Security secretary, FBI director and the director of national intelligence to sign off on each refugee to ensure they aren’t a threat to national security. It is unclear whether the bill will be taken up in the upper chamber.
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