WASHINGTON — American senators are looking at Canada’s plans to resettle Syrian refugees.
The U.S. Senate committee for homeland security is studying the implications for U.S. security from Canada’s refugee program.
The committee is hearing from two Canadians who have criticized the Trudeau government’s refugee plan, a representative of U.S. border guards who says the border is porous and needs more guards and a trade expert.
That testimony was countered by a letter from the Canadian embassy entered into the record.
The letter outlined the measures used to screen 25,000 refugees and how Canada co-operates with the U.S. on security.
It also said the refugees will not be Canadian citizens for years and will need visas to enter the U.S.
The letter was submitted by Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, the committee’s top Democrat.
He appeared to defend the Canadian government and said its accelerated rate of refugee settlement didn’t mean it was doing less screening.
“I think we should support our ally Canada in doing the right thing,” Carper said.
“As we do that, let’s keep our eye on the ball. Vilifying refugees coming to the United States or Canada only serves as a distraction from the real challenge of defeating ISIS on the battlefield and combating homegrown, violent extremism.”
The refugee issue has become politically charged in this U.S. presidential election season.
Republicans have attacked President Barack Obama for planning to bring in 10,000 refugees this year, far fewer than Canada, with some presidential candidates saying the number should be zero.