As President Obama travels overseas, he plans to continue pressing on the issue of accepting Syrian refugees — without additional scrutiny — even after the terrorist attacks in Paris.
Obama is scheduled to tour the Dignity for Children Foundation on Saturday, to highlight the importance of bringing in refugees. The center provides education and support to for refugees, particularly for Rohingya Muslims.
In a press briefing with reporters, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that the visit reflected Obama’s desire to lead on the controversial issue, encouraging more countries to respond to the attacks in Paris by taking in more refugees.
“I think it is part of our leadership,” he said. “It is a risk that if we shut the door, other nations will shut the door.”
Rhodes explained that the administration believed that accepting more immigrants and refugees into the country, made the United States a stronger country, not weaker critics have suggested.
“This is not just something we do out of charity; it’s something that we benefit from — because in the long run, these immigrant populations are part of what continues to renew America,” Rhodes said.
House Republicans and some Democrats voted for a bill that would increase screening for refugees coming from Iraq and Syria in response to the terrorist attacks from Paris. The bill passed with a vote of 289-137.
President Obama specifically referred to the Rohingya Muslims during a town hall event with young people.
The Rohingya, in Myanmar right now, are treated differently, even though they’ve been living there for generations. But there are a lot of people, because they’re of a different religious faith, they say those aren’t real — they’re not really part of our country. Well, once you start going down that line, then that’s a dangerous thing. So that’s part of the biggest advice that I would give, is to watch out for that.