COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) –The US House of Representatives has passed a bill to suspend Syrian refugee resettling in the United States. The vote happened Thursday. It adds layers of screening and halts the program to admit Syrian and Iraqi refugees in to the United States.
But one Central Ohio family says the process to enter the country was already thorough enough.
Lila Alsibai is the daughter of Syrian immigrants.
She says of the attitude in Washington toward Syrian refugees, “I think it’s disheartening to say the least.”
The first-generation American is a mother of three and says her heart breaks for the children impacted by the refugee crisis.
“To see now that hearts have turned into stone basically because of just political gain,” she said.
Lila’s ophthalmologist husband is also from Syria and regularly returns to help the Syrian people.
“They’re are fleeing from these very terrorists, they are not the terrorists,” she says.
At Community Refugee & Immigration Services in Columbus, director Angie Plummer says the screening process for refugees is extensive.
“Refugees are more highly screened that any other traveler to the United States,” she said.
She says it starts at the UN and includes finger printing, multiple data base checks and interviews–and can take up to two years.
Meanwhile, preparing dinner in her Dublin home Lila Alsibai just wants the same comfort for Syrian refugees.
“They don’t have food. They don’t have water. I mean and what’s left for them other than to seek potation and refuge?” she says.
That vote in the House was lopsided enough to override a threatened White House veto. It included 47 Democrats. The bill won’t ban refugees in the US, but it will require new FBI background checks and individual sign-offs from high-ranking US officials before refugees can be admitted.