President Obama: U.S. Will Accept Syrian Refugees. Governors Say No, American Security Comes First
[guest post by Dana]
After it was revealed that at least one of the terrorists in the Paris attacks had entered Europe as a Syrian refugee, 24 governors have thus far said that they will not accept Syrian refugees. The states are as follows:
— New Hampshire*
— North Carolina
*It should be noted that New Hampshire’s governor Maggie Hassan is a Democrat. Her office released the following common-sense statement:
The Governor believes the federal government should halt acceptance of refugees from Syria until intelligence and defense officials can assure that the process for vetting all refugees, including those from Syria, is as strong as possible to ensure the safety of the American people.
The current vetting process takes up to two years.
Interestingly, back in October, DHS director, Matthew Emrich was questioned by Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions about whether Syrian refugees could even be properly vetted:
Under questioning from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Emrich admits that there is no reliable way to assure that individuals coming from Syria are properly checked. The exchange lasts about seven minutes and Emrich sounds desperate when he says “we check everything that we are aware of” and that “we are in the process of overturning every stone.” The bottom line is that there is no way to verify the identity of Syrians so the defeated Homeland Security official proceeds to say that “in many countries of the world from which we have traditionally accepted refugees over the years the United States government did not have extensive data holdings.”
Emrich’s testimony before the Senate panel comes on the heels of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director Michael Steinbach’s revelation that the U.S. government has no system to properly screen Syrian refugees. “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet,” Steinbach said. “That would be the concern is we would be vetting — databases don’t hold the information on those individuals. “You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that is — does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets — the police, the intel services — that normally you would go to seek information don’t exist.”
Yesterday, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Michael McCaul was on Meet the Press, and addressed the issue of databases :
“We have hundreds of Americans that have traveled” to Iraq and Syria, he urged. “Many of them have come back as well. I think that’s a direct threat.”
McCaul once again said he has spoken with FBI and Homeland Security officials who say that “We don’t have the databases to vet them.”
“They tell me this cannot be properly done.” the Congressman added.
McCaul has consistently warned that ISIS has planned to use the refugee crisis to get operatives into the US.
“This causes a great concern on the part of policymakers, because we don’t want to be complicit with a program that could bring potential terrorists into the United States,” McCaul said.
FBI Director James Comey had earlier discussed similar concerns:
“My concern there is there are certain gaps … in the data available to us,” Comey said.
“There is risk associated of bringing anybody in from the outside, but specifically from a conflict zone like that,” he added.
“There is no such thing as a no-risk enterprise and there are deficits that we face.”
In particular, the lack of solid on-the-ground intelligence assets in Syria has clouded the U.S.’s ability to crosscheck the backgrounds of every refugee hoping to come to the U.S., Comey and other national security officials told the Senate panel.
In spite of these officials “popping off” about the risks associated with Syrian refugees coming into the U.S., President Obama remains determined to press on with his plans to accept
65,000 100,000 Syrians next year, because to not do so would be un-American.