Rep. Carney breaks with Democrats on Syrian refugees

DOVER — Rep. John Carney, D-Del., was among the 47 Democrats who broke with the party to support legislation placing additional safeguards on Syrian refugees entering the country.

The American SAFE Act of 2015 passed by a vote of 289-137. Just two of the “no” votes came from Republicans. The White House has said President Barack Obama would veto the bill.

Breaking rank with his fellow Democrats, Rep. John Carney said Wednesday he supported a moratorium on young, single Syrian men immigrating to the United States. (Delaware State News file)

Breaking rank with his fellow Democrats, Rep. John Carney said Wednesday he supported a moratorium on young, single Syrian men immigrating to the United States. (Delaware State News file)

Under the proposal, a refugee from Syria or Iraq “may only be admitted to the United States after the secretary of Homeland Security, with the unanimous concurrence of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the director of National Intelligence, certifies to the appropriate Congressional committees that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”

Rep. Carney said Wednesday he supported a moratorium on young, single Syrian men immigrating to the country.

“My view is we ought to have same special review of these processes for these military-aged men, the higher-risk population, if you will,” he said.

He pledged to “advocate for legislation assuring high standards.”

His vote contrasts with ideas espoused by other Democrats, including his colleagues from Delaware.

Speaking to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., referenced Pope Francis’ September visit to Congress and called for citizens “to treat other people the way we want to be treated.”

“From my perspective, we have two competing moral imperatives that should drive us in this situation,” he said. “On the one hand, we have an obligation to care for ‘the least of these.’ And on the other hand, we have an obligation to protect those of us who live here from possible threats that might be caused by individuals fleeing the violence in Syria.

“It may seem as if these moral imperatives are in conflict, that we can’t both help the desperate Syrians we’ve seen and read about in the media without putting ourselves in danger. I understand the concern, but I don’t believe that is the case.”

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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