LITTLE ROCK — A bill to halt the admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq into the U.S. passed in the U.S. House on Thursday with the support of all four members from Arkansas.

LITTLE ROCK — A bill to halt the admission of refugees from Syria and Iraq into the U.S. passed in the U.S. House on Thursday with the support of all four members from Arkansas.


The American Security Against Foreign Enemies, or SAFE, Act passed 289-137, with 47 Democrats joining Republicans to approve the measure. The bill would put the current refugee resettlement program on hold until Syrian and Iraqi refugees undergo a more stringent vetting process.


The bill was rushed through in response to last Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris. Authorities suspect at least one of the attackers may have entered Europe with a group of Syrian refugees.


President Barack Obama has threatened a veto, but the number of House members who voted for the bill would be enough to override a veto.


Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, said Thursday, "The administration and the FBI have already said they cannot verify refugees from Syria are not radicalized, so this bill would immediately stop the flow of unverifiable and potentially dangerous individuals into the United States. This commonsense legislation is supported by the vast majority of America. It has bi-partisan support and it is a bill the president should support to prevent future attacks instead of vetoing this bill."


Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, said, "The safety and security of the American people is my top priority, which is why I am proud to cosponsor and vote in favor of the American SAFE Act. We must strengthen our vetting and security policies to stop President Obama from haphazardly admitting waves of Syrian refugees and ensure that individuals associated with terrorism cannot enter our nation and our communities."


Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, said his is proud of the United States’ tradition of serving as a haven for immigrants and refugees from around the world.


"However, given the complexity of the current situation and global threats of terrorist attacks, I worry that some, under the guise of the refugee program, would come to our shores in a deliberate attempt to take advantage of our hospitality and do us harm," he said. "Our first priority has to be the protection of American citizens, and by strengthening our system for vetting and screening refugees, the SAFE Act would help prevent potential terrorist attacks on our homeland."


On the same day that he voted for the American SAFE Act, Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, introduced the Security Verification for Refugees Act, a bill that would expand the vetting process proposed under the SAFE Act to apply to refugees from any country designated by the State Department as a high-risk threat to the U.S.


"America needs to remain a beacon of hope, liberty, and freedom for the rest of the world," Hill said. "However, in maintaining that promise, we also need to maintain our promise of defending the American people from the very real threats our enemies pose. Today’s vote in the House gets the ball moving in the right direction, but it is missing needed provisions that will avoid this same pitfall down the road."