House votes to curb Syrian refugees, snubs Obama veto threat

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2015, file photo, people wait in line to enter the migrant and refugee registration camp in Moria, on the island of Lesbos, Greece. Some Republicans are pushing back against aggressive opposition in their party to Syrian refugees resettling in the U.S., fresh evidence of a rift within the GOP that threatens to complicate the party’s outreach to minorities heading into the 2016 presidential contest. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic, File)

WASHINGTON (AP/KXAN) — The House has rebuked President Barack Obama by ignoring his veto threat and approving a Republican bill erecting fresh barriers for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the United States.

Thursday’s passage came on a 289-137 vote — exceeding the two-thirds majority that would be needed to override a veto.

The roll call came after White House officials visited the Capitol and lobbied Democrats to oppose the legislation. Dozens of them ended up joining Republicans, anyway, and supporting the measure.

The curbs would in effect suspend the entry of Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. for months or years.

Republicans said tighter restrictions are needed following last week’s Paris terrorist attacks. Obama and most Democrats said the system was already safe and the U.S. shouldn’t abandon its tradition of accepting refugees.

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott issued a letter to the president on Monday stating his state will not take in any new Syrian refugees.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs, 213 Syrians arrived in Texas during fiscal year 2015. 21 additional have settled in the state, so far, in fiscal year 2016. They can apply for citizenship after at least five years living in the country.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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