The Obama administration is making a big deal of the “rigorous screening process” used to vet Syrian refugees. This is supposed to convince us that the US government, which is not noted for high levels of competence in things like providing health care to veterans or NOT paying Social Security payments to the deceased, is able to interview refugees in a camp in a third country and learn enough about them to ensure that they are not poxed to their eyebrows with terrorism. Don’t believe them. The screening process is an eleborate Potemkin village which gives the illusion of being comprehensive but can only screen out the least competent and least intelligent terrorists…and if we are going to admit terrorist I would prefer the stupid and incompetent.
Most refugees considered for resettlement in the U.S. are referred to the State Department by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. It typically takes U.S. authorities two years to process a case. But for Iraqis and others from the Mideast, the wait period has often been longer as a result of extensive vetting.
To be approved as a refugee, an applicant must establish that he or she has a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, creed or origin. Syrian refugees go through additional security checks, and U.S. officials on Tuesday said they are continuing to explore ways to tighten those screenings.
Minute details of the screening process are not divulged by U.S. authorities. But all potential refugees are fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed by federal officials abroad. Biometric data is run through federal databases to confirm identity and check for criminal and other nefarious activity. Men receive special scrutiny.
Screening Is Conducted By the UN
The initial screening of potential refugees is done by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This alone should be enough to scare the bejeezus out of anyone with a brain. In virtually any activity in which a UN agency is involved that is carried out in a region with terrorism, the UN agency unfailingly sympathizes with the terrorists. Take a look at the activities of the UN in Israel.
The UNHCR, the agency doing our screening of Syrians, has a similar problem:
Kenya’s interior minister has suggested United Nations staff working with refugees in the country’s massive Dadaab camp are “facilitating terrorist activities”.
Joseph Nkaissery, the secretary for internal security, hinted that some employees of the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, might face arrest for either direct involvement in planning terror attacks or failing to act against those planning them.
“We are very concerned about the alleged involvement or complacency of some UNHCR personnel, who facilitate terrorist activities in this country,” he told a meeting of the UNHCR in Switzerland.
Following terrorist attacks on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September 2013 and at Garissa University in April this year by al-Shabaab terrorists, the Kenyan government has sought to close the camp and repatriate its occupants, saying it served as a “nursery” for the terror group.
It has faced considerable pressure from the West not to do so – including from Barack Obama, the US president, and his Secretary of State John Kerry, who both visited Kenya this year to offer financial and security support.
But Mr Nkaissery repeated the claims this week, saying that the final planning and logistical support for nearly all the terrorist attacks in Kenya could be traced to Dadaab.
So the entire premise is based on a fiction. If the first stage of the process is compromised, and there is no reason to suppose the staff at camps in Turkey are any more likely to expose terrorism than their colleagues any other place, then the entire process fails.
The Rules Aren’t Working
(major hat tip to Sean Davis of The Federalist for doing the hard work here)
Back in 2011, the administration stopped processing refugees because they were letting in actual terrorists in substantial numbers.
Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to move to the United States as war refugees, according to FBI agents investigating the remnants of roadside bombs recovered from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The discovery in 2009 of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq — prompted the bureau to assign hundreds of specialists to an around-the-clock effort aimed at checking its archive of 100,000 improvised explosive devices collected in the war zones, known as IEDs, for other suspected terrorists’ fingerprints.
“We are currently supporting dozens of current counter-terrorism investigations like that,” FBI Agent Gregory Carl, director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC), said in an ABC News interview to be broadcast tonight on ABC News’ “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline”.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there were many more than that,” said House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman [mc_name name=’Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’M001157′ ]. “And these are trained terrorists in the art of bombmaking that are inside the United States; and quite frankly, from a homeland security perspective, that really concerns me.”
As a result of the Kentucky case, the State Department stopped processing Iraq refugees for six months in 2011, federal officials told ABC News – even for many who had heroically helped U.S. forces as interpreters and intelligence assets. One Iraqi who had aided American troops was assassinated before his refugee application could be processed, because of the immigration delays, two U.S. officials said. In 2011, fewer than 10,000 Iraqis were resettled as refugees in the U.S., half the number from the year before, State Department statistics show.
While a logical reaction would be to stop all processing for quite a while, the Obama administration came up with a different idea.
Screening Criteria Changed To Allow People With Terrorist Ties To Qualify
You read that right. Last year the Obama administration changed the screening criteria to allow people with known ties to terrorism to be admitted.
The Obama administration has unilaterally eased restrictions on asylum seekers with loose or incidental ties to terror and insurgent groups, in a move one senator called “deeply alarming.”
The change, approved by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry, was announced Wednesday in the Federal Register. It would allow some individuals who provided “limited material support” to terror groups to be considered for entry into the U.S.
Supporters of the change, including [mc_name name=’Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’L000174′ ], D-Vt., argued that the current ban on anyone who has ever aided terrorists has unfairly blocked thousands of refugees.
“The existing interpretation was so broad as to be unworkable,” Leahy said in a statement. “It resulted in deserving refugees and asylees being barred from the United States for actions so tangential and minimal that no rational person would consider them supporters of terrorist activities.”
But critics say despite the good intentions, the change raises security concerns, particularly after a report published Thursday on asylum fraud.
Why do we think this was “so broad as to be unworkable”? Because virtually all the refugee applicants were so enmeshed in terrorism and support for terrorism that if the criteria that had been used for decades were retained few would qualify.
The Federal Register notice would allow someone who has trained in a terrorist camp to have refugee status should they claim they had no choice but to participate in training. And it gives local officials —
Implementation of this determination will be made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), in consultation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or by U.S. consular officers, as applicable, who shall ascertain, to their satisfaction, and in their discretion, that the particular alien meets each of the criteria set forth above.
These are the same officials who were under criticism for not accepting refugees under the previous rules.
The System Is A Fraud
That a system for screening Iraqi, Afghan, and Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey would be unworkable is not a surprise. The entire screening process is based on the idea that, in a worst case scenario, you admit people who are simply economic migrants or maybe some petty crooks. The system wasn’t set up to filter out people who are terrorists and who are joining the refugee flow with the intent of carrying terror to the United States. We may have the best system possible but it is still woefully inadequate to accomplish what is being required of it.
What makes the system a fraud is that the Obama administration is claiming, against mountains of evidence to the contrary, that the refugee screening system is sufficiently robust to identify and screen out terrorists when it simply is not.