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Rep. Slaughter Responds To Controversy Over Refugee Bill

Louise Slaughter
Louise Slaughter

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-Fairport), is responding to recent criticism over her support of a bill that would implement a tighter screening procedure for Syrian and Iraqi refugees trying to enter the U.S.   Slaughter was among a number of Democrats who joined Republicans to support the legislation which passed the House 289 to 137. It's fate in the Senate is uncertain.

The controversy has resulted in a planned protest outside the Federal Building in Rochester on Tuesday, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. A post on Facebook says it's not a protest specifically against Slaughter, but specifically against her 'yes' vote on the House bill.

Slaughter released a statement on her Facebook page on Monday which said that she was "deeply disappointed by those who have conflated my position with those of Donald Trump and Ben Carson while questioning my long record of support for vulnerable families trying to escape violence to make a better life in a new land."

Slaughter says as the House prepared to debate the bill on toughening requirements for Syrian and Iraqi refugees, she put forward a Democratic alternative that would have better addressed security needs while strengthening the ability to respond to a humanitarian crisis. Slaughter says Republicans in the Rules Committee blocked the compromise.

Slaughter says the legislation was not perfect, but she believes that an additional layer of certification would not prohibit refugees from entering the U.S., or create significant new delays to an already lengthy process.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.