Syrian 'Refugees' and Immigration Roulette

How the government is recklessly playing with American lives.

As a direct consequence of the carnage and chaos in the Middle East millions of people are literally running for their lives.  Their desire to put distance between themselves and the violence of their own leaders as well as the violence of ISIS, al Nusra and other terrorists organizations is certainly understandable.  

However, among the innocent people fleeing the violence are terrorists seeking to enter European countries as well as the United States.  These terrorists attempt to blend in with the massive number of bona fide refugees hoping to gain entry into European countries and the United States.  Their ultimate goal is to carry out terror attacks, repaying the generosity of countries willing to help them by killing as many of the civilians of those countries as possible.

It is unthinkable that the United States would do nothing to help these endangered people.  Certainly all countries must provide assistance to save as many lives as possible.  To do nothing is not an option.

However, under no circumstances must America's enemies find in our compassion weakness and an opportunity to attack us.  Our leaders must not take actions that would endanger the safety and security of America and Americans.   

On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article, “Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat.”

The concerns that the admission of refugees into the United States would provide ISIS, al Nusra and other terrorist organizations with an opportunity to enter the United States and embed themselves as they prepare to carry out attacks inside the United States was the focus of my September 15, 2015 FrontPage Magazine article, “The Refugee Crisis Must Not Undermine U.S. National SecurityAmerica's enemies must not be permitted to turn our compassion into a weapon to use against us.

The need to protect our nation against the entry of international terrorists should be incontrovertible.  I have often compared the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese military with the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  In the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States, entered the Second World War and, in just 44 months and acting in concert with our allies, successfully defeated the Fascist Axis Powers and brought an end to the Nazi Third Reich.  

The attacks of 9/11 took place more than 14 years ago, nearly four times as long as it took to end the Second World War.  Our borders have never been less secure and the risk of additional terror attacks committed on American soil have never been greater.

The findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission are being utterly ignored and, all too often, the administration has taken actions that run in direct opposition to the recommendations and mandates of the 9/11 Commission.  This certainly does not help hasten the end of the threats posed by terrorists.

There is another reason to compare the attacks of 9/11 with the attack at Pearl Harbor.

Both attacks resulted in similar fatalities on the day of those attacks; approximately 3,000.  However, since the attacks of 9/11 more than 70,000 first responders and others who were exposed to the toxins released by the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania became ill as a result of their exposure to the toxins released in those attacks.  Some have died while others are gravely ill and suffering terribly.

It took the Japanese Navy to inflict the casualties at Pearl Harbor.  This involved large numbers of Japanese sailors and aviators.

The deadly attacks of September 11, 2001, however, were carried out by just 19 terrorists.  In this era of asymmetrical warfare, a small number of determined terrorists can inflict tremendous damage and huge casualties. 

While the two requirements of helping legitimate refugees while not compromising our safety and security may, on the surface, appear mutually exclusive, there is a solution.  Refugees must be provided with a safe haven within their own region.  Because there is no reliable way to vet these individuals, they must not be brought to the United States.  This is the approach that Senator Sessions and others have called for -- and it makes perfect sense.

On October 1, 2015 the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest, chaired by Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, conducted an oversight hearing on the issue, “Oversight of the Administration’s FY 2016 Refugee Resettlement Program: Fiscal and Security Implications.”

Senator Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee provided the following statement for this hearing that lays out the appropriate concerns:

Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee  

Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest Hearing on Oversight of the Administration’s FY 2016 Refugee Resettlement Program: Fiscal and Security ImplicationsOctober 1, 2015 

I appreciate the Chairman of this subcommittee for holding a hearing on this very important topic. The Immigration and Nationality Act requires that the President report to Congress regarding the “foreseeable number of refugees who will be in need of resettlement during the fiscal year.” Secretary Kerry consulted with members of this committee and provided some background on the President’s request. This hearing helps fulfill our statutory responsibility to review the President’s proposal. 

The United States welcomes more refugees than the rest of the world’s countries combined. There’s no question that we will continue to play a critical role in helping those around the world who are suffering or are persecuted. 

Nevertheless, the American people are very concerned about the role this country will play in solving the problems in the Middle East. The President’s refugee proposal includes a plan to accept more than 10,000 refugees who are fleeing from Syria. 

ISIS and other terrorist groups have made it abundantly clear that they will use the refugee crisis to try to enter the United States. And, it’s becoming apparent that people in other countries are attempting to hide in the masses in order to enter Europe. Reports suggest that a vast number of those fleeing Syria are neither Syrian nor refugees. The International Organization for Migration reports that only 40% of those showing up at Europe’s borders are Syrians. Some suggest that people from Iraq, Afghanistan, and sub-Saharan Africa are fleeing their homelands and taking advantage of the crisis. 

If the Obama administration wants to bring in an additional ten thousand Syrians, it must present a concrete and foolproof plan to ensure that terrorists won't be able to enter the country. And, the administration needs to show that it has enlisted the help of other capable, affluent nations in the Middle East to deal with the crisis in Syria. 

I have several questions for our witnesses, including how the administration will screen individuals for terrorist ties, and just as importantly, what it will do if it finds out an individual is a terrorist after that person has been granted refugee status. 

Before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans. 

Senator Patrick Leahy also provided a statement for the hearing.

His last paragraph is particularly significant and worthy of careful consideration:

“The United States has learned much in the 14 years since 9/11. We must apply that knowledge. We can and must be careful, but we can be more efficient. Our refugee resettlement program, including our community and faith-based partners, is a program of which we should be proud. Let us use that program to rise to the challenge before us and increase our refugee admission numbers. The time is now.”

To begin with, who is “we” and what have “we” learned?

Let's consider the track record of our leaders since the attacks of 9/11.

The purpose of the 9/11 Commission was to determine how the terrorists were able to enter the United States and then embed themselves in the United States as they went about their deadly preparations.

The 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel (monograph) detailed numerous examples of instances where terrorists not only made use of visa and immigration benefit fraud to enter the United States but also to embed themselves in the United States. While advocates for "comprehensive immigration reform" have established the issue of supposedly securing the US/Mexican border, a process they claim would require many years, as the sole prerequisite for providing unknown millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and official identity documents.

Here is an excerpt from that report that makes the above issues crystal clear:

Although there is evidence that some land and sea border entries (of terrorists) without inspection occurred, these conspirators mainly subverted the legal entry system by entering at airports.

In doing so, they relied on a wide variety of fraudulent documents, on aliases, and on government corruption. Because terrorist operations were not suicide missions in the early to mid-1990s, once in the United States terrorists and their supporters tried to get legal immigration status that would permit them to remain here, primarily by committing serial, or repeated, immigration fraud, by claiming political asylum, and by marrying Americans. Many of these tactics would remain largely unchanged and undetected throughout the 1990s and up to the 9/11 attack.

Thus, abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. It would remain largely unknown, since no agency of the United States government analyzed terrorist travel patterns until after 9/11. This lack of attention meant that critical opportunities to disrupt terrorist travel and, therefore, deadly terrorist operations were missed.

Notwithstanding the finding, recommendations and warnings of the 9/11 Commission and its staff, the administration has expanded the wrong-headed Visa Waiver Program, thereby removing an important layer of security.  The administration has failed to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States while failures of border security have enabled and indeed, encouraged a human tsunami of illegal aliens to flood across our border.  

Under the aegis of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, the administration has provided hundreds of thousands of illegal alien “DREAMers” with lawful status and official identity documents.  While this program was touted as being created to help young aliens, in point of fact aliens as old as 30 may file to participate in this program.  They must claim to have entered the United States prior to their 15th birthday, but they face no interviews.  No field investigations are being conducted, either.  Under such circumstances, all that the adjudications officers have to work with is the information contained in applications. 

Under DACA, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens whose true identities, backgrounds and even dates of entry into the United States cannot be accurately determined or verified, have been provided with official identity documents and temporary lawful status.

This is an open invitation to fraud. The approval rate for DREAMers is well over 95%.

We have seen many instances where aliens who were granted political asylum, lawful immigrant status and even United States citizenship then went on to commit or attempt to commit deadly terror attacks inside the United States.

My extensive article for summer 2015 edition of The Social Contract, “The 9/11 Commission Report and Immigration: An Assessment, Fourteen Years after the Attacks.” 

The vetting process that is in place to screen the refugees is incapable of identifying the terrorists who will undoubtedly embed themselves among the legitimate refugees.  This is not just conjecture.  I urge you to take the time to watch the video of the hearing chaired by Senator Sessions on October 1, 2015 that I reference above.  

During the hearing Chairman Sessions hammered the administration witnesses about the challenges -- indeed, insurmountable challenges -- confronting those who are tasked with effectively screening the huge numbers of refugees who will be brought to the United States.

To refer to the information revealed in the hearing as unsettling is the understatement of the century.

First of all, Senator Sessions properly noted that it is important to not only consider the instant matter of the resettlement of Syrian refugees but to consider how many aliens are admitted into the United States each year.

He began by saying, “Too often discussions of any one particular immigration program lacks broader numerical context.”  Senator Sessions went on to note that each year roughly one million new green card holders are admitted into the United States, and each year we admit 700,000 temporary foreign workers and 500,000 foreign students.  He also made the point that since 9/11 the United States has admitted 1.5 million immigrants from Muslim countries and that worldwide, one in five immigrants now live the United States.

These facts were provided to make the point about whether or not the United States can, from an economic standpoint, afford to admit the nearly 200,000 new refugees over the next two years, including those from Syria now being proposed by the administration.

Senator Sessions also noted that renowned economists have linked the massive influx of foreign labor with crippling wage stagnation and joblessness of American workers.  The Senator listed other clear evidence that the United States already accepts the greatest number of immigrants and refugees than any other country on the planet.  He also made the point that the great majority of Americans are opposed to the proposal to admit hundreds of thousands of additional refugees.

Although Senator Session did not make this point, I will:  It is astounding that even as more American workers are finding it impossible to secure decent jobs, the United States admits more foreign workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States than the number of new jobs that are being created. 

Having addressed the economic impact that the Syrian refugee resettlement program would have on struggling American workers and the United States economy, Sessions turned his attention to the issue of this ill-conceived program and the implications it would have for U.S. national security.  He quoted Michael B. Steinbach – Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division as recently testifying that there was no way to vet these refugees.

On February 11, 2015 the House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on the issue of Domestic Counterterrorism Efforts.  Michael Steinbach, Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division testified.  A brief video of a segment of his response to the question about the ability of our government to vet Syrian Refugees was unambiguous and made it crystal clear that the United States has “no footprint on the ground in Syria” and that Syria in his judgment is a “failed state” that does not have the infrastructure in place to provide the vital information essential to vet Syrians refugees.

On February 12, 2015 ABC News reported, “US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort.”

Some of the other facts that were provided during the hearing as the administration witnesses were questioned by Senator Sessions and other members of the Subcommittee on Immigration and the Public Interest include the fact that presently the approval rate for applications for refugee status filed by individuals claiming to be Syrian refugees was in excess of 90%.  Meanwhile Senator Sessions noted that in Europe, officials have found that approximately three out of four applicants for asylum who claimed to be Syrian were actually from a wide array of countries including Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere.

During the hearing Senator Sessions questioned each of the witnesses about how Syrian Refugees are being screened.  They claimed that they were “leaving no stone unturned” and that they were being very careful.  At one point one of the witnesses, Ms. Barbara Strack Chief, Refugee Affairs Division of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, responded to the question concerning how her agency deals with aliens who claim to be Syrian refugees but have no documentation.  She stated that her staff would check public source information and other sources of information so that if, for instance, an individual claimed that he/she had lost his belongings, including documents, because a barrel bomb had destroyed his house and his possessions, they could determine if the claim was supported by available information. 

Did she not realize that terrorists and others who sought to defraud the system could also find out if a building was destroyed and then easily claim to have lost their possessions in that building, even if they had never set foot within miles of that building?

I would love to know if, for argument's sake, an apartment house occupied by 100 people was destroyed in such a bombing, how many hundreds or perhaps thousands of supposed Syrians have claimed to have lost their worldly possessions in that demolished building.  

During the amnesty of 1986, thanks in large measure to the Congressman Chuck Schumer's agriculture provisions of the Immigration Reform and Control Act, which provided amnesty to aliens who claimed to have worked on a farm in the United States, we often found that so many supposed farmers had all worked at the same time on one small farm that if all of the farmers actually stood on the farm they would have had no room to grow anything, but their tall tales. 

The attacks of 9/11 transformed America and, in many ways, transformed the world.  Such is the threat of asymmetrical warfare.

Since the attacks of 9/11 we have been told that to succeed the terrorists only need to “get it right” one time.  For America to protect itself and its citizens, our government has to “get it right” 100% of the time.  Every time the United States admits an alien -- especially refugees and others from the war-torn Middle East where terrorists are being cranked out faster than MacDonald's makes hamburgers -- we face the potential of “getting it wrong.”

On September 30, 2015 my article for CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) addressed the national security concerns that the refugee resettlement program creates.  That article was titled: "Refugee Resettlement Program Raises Unsettling Issues."

There is a twisted game known as “Russian Roulette” where a bullet is placed in the cylinder of a revolver and the cylinder is spun and the trigger is pulled.  If the hammer lands on the chamber with the round, the results are fatal.

Today the administration is playing “Immigration Roulette.”  The life of every American hangs in the balance.  Furthermore none of us asked to participate in this suicidal “game.”

 

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