Syrian Refugees: Reasons for Concern

Syrian Refugees: Reasons for Concern

There is no argument that the plight of the Syrian refugees is tragic and complex.

What is the Vetting Process?

1. United Nations determines whether a prospective applicant meets the legal definition of a refugee: Someone fleeing their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution.

2. The refugee is referred to the United States, and sent to an overseas resettlement support center.

3. The individual’s name is run through the State Department Consular Lookout and Support System database. This contains visa, passport and other information.

4. DHS US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducts an in-person interview.

5. “Cadres of specially trained officers known as the Refugee Corps” are sent out to interview Syrians, mostly in Jordan and Turkey. They use mobile equipment to fingerprint the applicants and take their photos.

6. Fingerprints are  scanned by a variety of databases including:

  • FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (checks prints and criminal histories on more than 70M people)
  • DHS Automated Biometric Identification System (this shows any encounters with US immigration authorities)

7. A prospective refugee is given a medical exam, including a TB test.

8. Prospective is given a “cultural orientation” where they learn more about the US.

9. Arriving in the US, they are screened again at the airport by US Customs and Border Protection.

10. Syrian refugees are also reviewed at USCIS headquarters in Washington.

From: The Washington Post

Editor’s note: This article may be periodically updated as more information surfaces.

While a growing number of governors join the resistance to Syrian refugees, the Obama administration continues  to push for an increase in Syrian refugees. Those governors are not getting the information they need to ease their concerns.

The big worry? The likelihood that amongst the Syrian refugees being brought to the US, Islamic State (ISIS, also called ISIL by the President) terrorists can also enter undetected.

Why is there such a concern?

Pieces to the puzzle are scattered over the Internet, but it is clear that this is a situation nobody has a firm grasp on.  Although many think that the issue developed due to the attacks last Friday in Paris, in truth this has been a topic of concern quite some time.

Consider the following information:

1. The concern about vetting Syrian refugees is not new.

On October 21, 2015, The Hill reported, “Republican lawmakers are pushing the administration on its vetting of Syrian refugees amid plans to increase the number accepted into the United States each year.”

In September, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admitted, “I don’t, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that’s a huge concern of ours.”

ABC News reports that refugees in Kentucky were trained Al Quaeda terrorists.

2. ISIS has used refugee camps in the past for terrorists

The Daily Mail reported in September that a Syrian ISIS suspect was located in, “Calais refugee camps in the hope of sneaking into the UK to wage terror.”

Recent information from the Pew Research Center published on November 19 indicates that perhaps as many as 30% of refugees are using forged Syrian passports. Why? Because they have a better chance of being accepted if they are Syrians seeking refugee status.

3. ISIS threatens to use migrants in Europe as a ‘psychological weapon’

February 18, 2015: ISIS threatens to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as a ‘psychological weapon,’ echoing a Gaddafi prediction from 2011. See the  Daily Mail

4. In a BuzzFeed interview, an ISIS smuggler confirms that terrorists are infiltrating Western countries by taking advantage of migration. 

A year ago, an ISIS smuggler gave an exclusive interview to BuzzFeed and said that  ISIS operatives are taking advantage of Western nations’ generosity toward refugees to infiltrate Europe. He claimed that over 4000 were already in place in Western nations.

5. Five, no, make that 13, arrests, two Air France bomb threats – within the last 48 hours

Today, five Syrian men with fake passports were arrested in Honduras on their way to the US.

Eight Syrians were arrested at the Texas border. 

Two Air France flights from US to Paris diverted because of bomb threats.

                   Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo,

6. The FBI is known to be actively investigating about 1000 potential ISIS situations. 

Colorado sheriffs stated in a public letter to President Obama, “We recently learned that the FBI has almost 1,000 active ISIS investigations taking place inside the borders of the United States.”

7. Terror attacks and arrests in the US have happened already, and will likely happen again

Daily Mail claims that there have already been refugees in America that have been arrested for ISIS-related terror plots. The Daily Caller agrees.

The website, TheReligionofPeace details 41 separate attacks by Muslims, many of them refugees, in the United States since 9/11.

8. Once they’re “vetted” by the US government, they are not tracked or monitored when they resettle.

A refugee resettlement group admits,  “We don’t track them,” once they are in the US.

9. Law enforcement is concerned.

The FBI sees a new round of threats during the approaching holiday season in the United States.

“I don’t, obviously, put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees, so that’s a huge concern of ours,” Director of Intelligence James Clapper said.

10. ISIS claims they have 71 trained soldiers in 15 different states ready to attack any target. 

When they threatened to kill blogger Pamela Geller, an American citizen, for planning a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest, they bragged of soldiers already established across the country. See also: Daily Mail article.

11. Other sources also support the statement that ISIS is already in the United States.

“…when they tell you that [the refugees] are vetted, are you out of your mind?” Arafat “Ralph” Succar.

Syrian community leader in New York claims that ISIS has been infiltrating for years, as reported in the New York Post. Additionally, Arafat “Ralph” Succar believes it is impossible to “vet” the refugees. “Third World countries, particularly places like Syria, do not have the network of information the United States has. In Syria, there’s no such thing. So when they tell you that [the refugees] are vetted, are you out of your mind?”

12. Governors are not given information by the Obama administration or senior White House officials.

In a teleconference between over a dozen governors from each party and senior Obama administration officials on Tuesday evening more information was requested on the Syrian refugees. Top White House officials refused, according to Bloomberg. Governors are asking for notifications whenever refugees are resettled in their states, and access to the information collected during the vetting process for the refugees.

Bloomberg reports, “There was a real sense of frustration from all the governors that there is just a complete lack of transparency and communication coming from the federal government,” said one GOP state official who was on the call… The administration officials, led by McDonough, assured the governors that the vetting process was thorough and that the risks of admitting Syrian refugees could be properly managed. He added that the federal government saw no reason to alter the current method of processing refugees.”


      Syrian refugee center on the Turkish border 50 miles from Aleppo.

“I especially encourage my fellow Republicans to recognize that refugees are not the problem – they are the symptom of the problem,” said Senator McCain.

Here is McCain’s full statement:


Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on the Syrian refugee program and the need for a comprehensive strategy to address the source of the problem by ending the Syrian civil war and defeating ISIL:

“In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, I believe we must temporarily pause the program to accept Syrian refugees into the United States to give our law enforcement and intelligence professionals sufficient time to ensure that there is a rigorous, comprehensive vetting process in place capable of protecting our national security. However, I believe the overwhelming focus on the refugee program in recent days is misplaced. I especially encourage my fellow Republicans to recognize that refugees are not the problem – they are the symptom of the problem.

“The refugee crisis we face today is a result of the President’s failed leadership and total lack of strategy. Time after time over the last five years, the President has refused to act, allowing the Syrian civil war to grow and fester and the terrorist threat to gather strength. Now, even after ISIL has demonstrated the capability and intent to strike the capitals of the Western world, the President remains impervious to reality and refuses to change course from his failed strategy. Failure to address this problem at its source will only prolong this conflict, produce more refugees, and place our security at greater risk.

“That is why our energies must be focused on the design, adoption, and execution of a comprehensive strategy to hasten the end of the Syrian civil war and achieve the decisive and lasting defeat of ISIL. Such a strategy is not only in the national security interests of the United States. It is the most important thing we can do for millions of Syrians whose lives have been destroyed by the unspeakable violence of the Assad regime and ISIL.”

 How about a ‘Pause’ in the Syrian refugee program?

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calls for a pause in the program.

McConnell calls for ‘pause’ in Syrian refugee resettlement.

Congress to vote this week

Obama promises to veto the legislation

CIA Chief wants to strengthen the vetting system

Statement From Governor Doug Ducey On Congressional Efforts Regarding Refugees

“If ever there were a time to put politics aside, it’s right now. With reports that even officials within the federal government have previously expressed concerns about the screening of refugees, it remains imperative that this issue be taken seriously and that our government put the security of the American people first.

“On Monday, I called on national leaders to act with urgency in protecting our homeland, and I am encouraged by efforts in Congress to pause refugee admissions from Syria and Iraq until we have a new standard of verification and assurances to the public.

“This legislation is a good first step, but it should not be a last step. It’s still important that states have greater oversight and authority in this process. I hope leaders on both sides of the aisle can come together and place the security of our nation before all else.”

“Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.” President Obama

There is not universal agreement in Arizona on the issue. Despite Governor Ducey’s stance, the City of Phoenix is open to the refugees, at least as far as Mayor Greg Stanton is concerned:

“Phoenix is recognized as one of the most welcoming communities for refugees from around the world, and as mayor, I’m committed to strengthening that reputation. We will continue to work with local agencies to find housing, work and education for those rebuilding lives torn apart by war and terrorism.

“As the world’s leading democracy, it would be wrong for the United States to change who we are as a nation and unilaterally slam the door on people who are escaping violence, persecution and extremism. For many decades now, refugees coming to America have gone through a thorough vetting process and a series of background checks. The federal government should remain vigilant in that process, and update it if necessary as circumstances across the globe warrant.”

Other mayors have also stated their support for the Syrian refugees:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

Tallahassee Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum

Chicago City Council

Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu


 Photo credit: Photos are in the public domain, and shown on Wikipedia


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