Tierney Sneed

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.

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The House will vote Thursday afternoon on the first of what could be many legislative moves geared to curb President Obama's Syrian refugee resettlement program. The legislation, called the America SAFE Act, would require that the heads of federal security agencies personally approve of the background investigations of each refugee admitted and certify that the refugee poses no security threat.

The White House has already vowed to veto the House GOP bill and Democrats are putting together their own alternative. Nevertheless, some Dems are expected to vote with Republicans Thursday, while on the right, conservatives are already clamoring that the bill does not go far enough in targeting Obama's plan to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees to resettle in the United States this fiscal year.

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Simmering anti-refugee sentiment in the U.S. has blown up into full-fledged xenophobic hysteria since Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

The assaults -- conducted largely, it is believed, by French and Belgian nationals -- turned into fodder for Republicans to amp up their attacks on the Obama administration's previously announced plans to accept more Syrian refugees next year.

Even before details of the attackers’ backgrounds had emerged, GOP candidates were screaming that refugees from regions torn by the Islamic State be banned from the United States. Cable news pundits fueled the fire, speculating even before assault was over that the flow of migrants through Europe were connected to attack. By Monday, the backlash to the U.S. long tradition of accepting refugees was in full force and Congress was flirting with the idea of shutting down the government over Obama’s refugee plans.

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee upped the ante on the anti-refugee response to Friday's Paris attack. The 2016 candidate said not only should all Syrian refugees be prohibited from settling in America, but in a Time op-ed called for a ban on "ALL visas for travelers and tourists from any country with a significant ISIS or al-Qaeda presence."

The op-ed also called Republicans who have called for a ban on only Muslim Syrian refugees "misguided," as "terrorists will say anything to infiltrate America – including lying about their religion."

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While some opponents to settling refugees in the United States are distancing themselves from the comparison to World War II Japanese internment camps, at least one person is embracing it.

Roanoke, Virginia, Mayor David A. Bowers used President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to "sequester" Japanese Americans to justify his decision to cut off assistance to Syrian refugees.

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) -- also a candidate for president -- will push a measure that will block taxpayer benefits for refugees from "high-risk" countries, his office announced Wednesday. He plans to introduce the measure as an amendment to the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Act.

Paul is among the many Republicans critical of President Obama's plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next fiscal year. He also has re-introduced 2013 legislation that will put new restrictions on visas issued to refugees.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) may have been mocked for his claim during Saturday’s Democratic debate that “climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism.” But his comment touched upon what has become a focus of research and planning in the defense and intelligence worlds.

For years, those in the national security community has considered climate change threat to American interests here and abroad, and are now exploring how climate change is exacerbating the conditions that lead to civil unrest.

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Former Secretary of State and Democratic 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton weighed in Tuesday on the talk among Republicans to ban Syrian refugees, and specifically Muslim refugees. On Twitter, she called the rhetoric "hateful" and said that "the idea that we'd turn away refugees because of religion is a new low."

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Days after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) for voting to "weaken the U.S. intelligence programs." The swipe comes after the two 2016 contenders had been engaged in squabble over immigration.

"At least two of my colleagues in the Senate aspiring to the presidency, Senator Cruz in particular, have voted to weaken the U.S. intelligence programs just in the last month and a half," Rubio said, speaking at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council in Washington, Monday. "And the weakening of our intelligence gathering capabilities leaves America vulnerable. And that is exactly what's happened."

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said it was not up to courts to grant LGBT legal protections and in the process, compared gay people to pedophiles.

Speaking at Georgetown University Law School Monday, Scalia said the Constitution guaranteed only religious and political protections, The New York Times reported, and that it was not up to judges to determine which other minority groups deserved legal protections.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Republicans in a closed-door meeting Thursday that he is looking to address this week the concerns many GOP lawmakers have raised about Syrian refugees in light of the Paris attack, an anonymous source in the room told Politico.

It's not clear which steps Ryan will take, though Politico reported there are several legislative options to consider in the coming days.

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