A U.S. senator has introduced a bill calling for a temporary moratorium on accepting refugees from dozens of "high-risk" countries that include Syria and North Korea.
The bill, submitted by Sen. Rand Paul last month, is aimed mainly at preventing the entry of extremists into the U.S. under the refugee program. It came after revelations that one of the terrorists in last month's deadly attacks in Paris posed as a refugee to enter France.
A total of 34 countries were classified as high-risk countries, including Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and Russia. Asian nations included Bangladesh, Indonesia and North Korea.
The legislation enables the secretary of homeland security not to approve any application for entry to the U.S. from nationals of high-risk countries or those seeking entry to the U.S. from high-risk nations until after certain conditions are met, including the establishment of a better screening process.
But the moratorium is not applied to those enrolled in the Global Entry trusted traveler program, it said.
The prospects of the bill's passage are unclear as the U.S. is divided over how to deal with such refugee issues. It also remains to be seen how this legislation, if enacted, would affect North Korean defectors trying to enter the U.S. as refugees. (Yonhap)