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Loretta Lynch Promises Thorough Screening For Syrian Refugees

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans pressed Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday over the Obama administration’s plan to allow thousands more Syrian war refugees into the country following last week’s attacks in Paris.

Lynch told the House Judiciary Committee that protecting the U.S. from the threat of the Islamic State and other terrorist groups is the Justice Department’s top priority, adding that more than 70 people have been charged in the last two years for alleged conduct related to foreign-fighter activity and homegrown violent extremism.

Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., asked Lynch about the risk of terrorists posing as refugees. The body of one suicide bomber in Paris was found with a Syrian passport, and prosecutors say his fingerprints match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.

Lynch said the screening process for those considered for immigration to the United States is more stringent, relying on extensive interviews, biometric screening and the combined intelligence assets of several federal agencies.

“Certainly, there are challenges to that process because of the situation in Syria,” Lynch said. “But I would note, however, that we do have the benefit of having that significant and robust screening process in place, a process that Europe has not been able to set up, which renders them more vulnerable.”