President Obama’s State Department finally admitted the obvious regarding ISIS terrorists embedding themselves in the refugee flow from the Middle East. “I wouldn’t debate the fact that there’s the potential for ISIS terrorists to try to insert themselves, and we see that in some of the refugee camps in Jordan and in Turkey, where they try to insert themselves into the population,“ State Department spokesman John Kirby said on “Fox and Friends” on September 21st. Then Kirby tried to assure Americans that the “vetting process, while not perfect, is a very, very stringent.”
The Obama administration cannot even properly handle immigrants due for deportation who are already in the country. How can we possibly believe that it can reliably vet individuals from Syria and other terrorist infested countries where comprehensive accurate data regarding such individuals are sorely lacking?
For example, according to a report released on September 19th by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, hundreds of immigrants were improperly granted citizenship despite missing fingerprint records. They were from “special interest countries” – countries of particular concern for national security reasons.
Nevertheless, President Obama is making the admission of more refugees and migrants his going away gift to the American people. He has announced that the United States will welcome even more refugees from around the world, increasing the number of people the U.S. receives by 40 percent over the next two years, to 100,000 in 2017. He also wants to admit more Syrian refugees in particular, which Hillary Clinton has already announced she would do if elected president.
Obama convened a Leaders Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 20th, co-sponsored by Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, Jordan, Mexico and Sweden. Its purpose was to appeal to governments to pledge significant new resettlement and financial commitments regarding refugees.
The day before Obama’s meeting, the UN General Assembly hosted its own High-Level Summit on Refugees and Migrants at which the UN member states adopted the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants.” This consensus document was intended to express the political will of world leaders to protect the rights of refugees and migrants and share responsibility for large movements on a global scale. They committed to finding new homes for all refugees identified by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as needing resettlement, as well as to expand the opportunities for refugees to relocate to other countries through sponsored job or education schemes. They also agreed to start negotiations for the purpose of adopting a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018 and merged the International Organization for Migration (IOM) into the UN system to strengthen global governance of migration among countries.
As usual with aspirational UN documents of this kind, it was very general – so general, in fact, that it did not even contain a specific reference to the plight of the Syrian refugees. That is just as well, considering that the UN’s Special Adviser on the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, Karen Koning AbuZayd, has blamed Israel for the chaos in the Middle East region. “Israel’s behind all of this,” she claimed in an interview with the Middle East Monitor. “That’s what they want; to break up the Arab world and take more control.” Ms. AbuZayd first denied to me that she had said any such thing and then, when confronted with the article, claimed that she was misquoted. She pointedly declined my request to clarify her thoughts on the specific countries in the Middle East region she believes are at least partially responsible for exacerbating the refugee crisis.
President Obama was looking for more specific commitments at his summit, focusing only on the refugee crisis which has reached a level not seen since World War II. Sixty-five million people, including more than 21 million refugees who have fled their countries, have been displaced by “war, ethnic tensions, or persecution,” he said. Yet in a perfect example of Obama’s case of delusional cognitive dissonance, he had told the General Assembly earlier in his annual address that the world today “is by many measures less violent and more prosperous than ever before.”
President Obama wanted his Leaders Summit to produce concrete pledges of increased resettlements of refugees beyond the countries already shouldering the major burdens of the Syrian refugee outflow, such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. He also wanted countries to pledge more financial assistance to help refugees resettle and integrate into their host societies. At least in terms of pledges, there appears to have been some measure of success. According to Obama’s UN Ambassador Samantha Power, the summit participants increased their total 2016 financial contributions to UN appeals and international humanitarian groups by approximately $4.5 billion and created roughly 360,000 formal refugee resettlement slots or alternate lawful pathways for refugee admissions. However, as Ambassador Power acknowledged, “countries have a bad habit of coming to pledging conferences and making commitments and then not delivering on those commitments.”
Perhaps as an antidote to his failed policies in the Middle East and Libya, which helped give rise to a re-emergent ISIS spreading its jihadist brand of terrorism globally and helped spark the refugee crisis, President Obama decided to latch on to the refugee issue as his swan song.
“It’s a test of our international system where all nations ought to share in our collective responsibilities,” Obama said as the self-appointed refugee welfare pitchman. “It is a crisis of our shared security.”
Obama’s problem, however, is that when he talks about “shared security” and “collective responsibilities,” he glides over the first priority of the leader of any nation including his own – the security of its people. The Obama administration is simply incapable of ensuring that refugees resettled in communities across the United States do not pose terror threats. And Obama surely failed to provide such assurance when he bizarrely stated at his Leaders Summit on Refugees that“refugees are subject to more rigorous screening than the average tourist.” Not exactly a high bar to exceed.
Obama then raised his usual strawman arguments to attack the critics of his expanded refugee expansion program. He said “if we were to turn refugees away simply because of their background or religion, or, for example, because they are Muslim, then we would be reinforcing terrorist propaganda that nations like my own are somehow opposed to Islam, which is an ugly lie that must be rejected in all of our countries by upholding the values of pluralism and diversity.”
Obama made his customary false moral equivalence argument, comparing legitimate concerns about opening up our borders to thousands of new refugees from terrorist infested areas of the world, without robust vetting procedures in place first, to “turning away Jews fleeing Nazi Germany.”
“There was no international conspiracy of German Jews in the 1930s attempting to carry out daily attacks on civilians on several continents. No self-identifying Jews in the early 20th century were randomly massacring European citizens in magazine offices and concert halls.”
Moreover, Christians constitute a religious minority in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East who have been the amongst the most targeted victims of religious persecution and genocide. Yet President Obama has sharply criticized the suggestion that persecuted Christians be given preference for admission as refugees. Only about 1 percent of the total number of Syrian refugees admitted to the United States are Christian. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, approximately 96% of the Syrian refugees admitted to the United States by the Obama administration have been Sunni Muslims. While many of them may have left a war-torn country in search of a better life, they were not victims of religious persecution, as Christians continue to be. Therefore, it is questionable whether they should even be considered eligible for refugee status.
It is neither xenophobic nor racist to raise legitimate concerns about personal safety resulting from an ill-conceived refugee policy. The jihadist terrorist attacks by Muslim immigrants from Somalia and Afghanistan, which occurred in Minnesota and the New York metropolitan area last weekend, only heighten those concerns. The dramatic increase of jihadist terrorist attacks in Western Europe also sets off alarm bells. It is undeniable that the European countries which have admitted the most refugees and migrants from Syria, North Africa and other areas beset constantly by jihadist terrorism have been the countries that have experienced the biggest rise in jihadist terrorist attacks at home.
Moreover, while Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have taken in many Syrian refugees to their credit, it is a legitimate question to ask why wealthy Gulf States such as Qatar have taken in so few. After all, Qatar in particular has contributed to the destabilization of Syria in the first place by funding and arming radical Islamists.
It would make far more sense for Muslims displaced by the war in Syria to resettle in countries in their own region where they are more likely to assimilate into the majority Muslim populations. And they would be closer to their homes in Syria, so that if conditions improve sufficiently they can more easily return safely.
Until we have a foolproof vetting system in place that keeps out self-identified refugees who have shown any signs of jihadist tendencies, the admission of refugees and migrants from Syria and other terrorist infested countries should be suspended.