FBI Director James Comey added in congressional testimony last month that “a number of people who were of serious concern” slipped through the screening of Iraq War refugees, including two arrested on terrorism-related charges. “There’s no doubt that was the product of a less than excellent vetting,” he said.
Although Comey said the process has since “improved dramatically,” Syrian refugees will be even harder to check because, unlike in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have not been on the ground collecting information on the local population. “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our data,” he said. “I can’t sit here and offer anybody an absolute assurance that there’s no risk associated with this.”
Especially since the Adminstration quietly lowered the bar to entry for those who have provided support to terrorism back in 2014.
According to DHS, Section 212(d)(3)(B) of the INA allows either the secretary of state or DHS secretary in consultation with each other and with the U.S. Attorney General “to determine that certain terrorism bars of the INA do not apply.”
While Vaughan conceded that there are a number of immigrants seeking protection who have been denied due to unintentional contact with terrorists, she sees the exemptions as likely another opportunity for people to get around the system.
“If the recent past is any guide, those evaluating these cases will be ordered to ignore red flags in the applications, especially if the applicant is supported by one of the many advocacy groups that have the ear of senior DHS staff,” she explained. “The administration already approves of the admission of gang members as asylees and criminals in the DACA program and grants of prosecutorial discretion, so I don’t expect them to be troubled by the admission of terrorists and garden variety fraudsters in our refugee program. This is how we end up with families like the Tsarnaev brothers [the Boston marathon bombers], who were originally admitted for political asylum.”
All that said, I'd like to be able to offer help to people who are genuine refugees, regardless of religion. But it's clear that this whole process is more about making a statement than addressing the genuine security concerns of the American people. If you can convince me that you are making the latter the top priority, then I'm open.
Still, I'm willing to compromise. If we really want to help, let's take them all in, and place them where they can have the best chance to thrive--America's wealthiest suburbs. Why should they be sent to some aging suburb with strained finances like Dearborn or into the decayed inner cities in hopes of revitalizing them? Nope--let's help them hit the ground running.
This looks like a promising set of neighborhoods with the resources--especially schools--necessary to get a leg up in life. And in many cases, it would sure help with the mosaic of diversity for some of these startlingly-pale enclaves.
Let me throw in a few other names--Silver Springs, Chevy Chase, Orange County, the Upper East Side, Arlington, Oakland County, Ann Arbor, the bedroom communities of Philadelphia and Boston...I'm sure you can come up more.
And why stop with mere zip codes? Surely, our enlightened private high schools and colleges can set aside blocks of scholarships (Sidwell Friends, answer the call!), residential housing and the like. Why put the burden entirely on local governments and aid groups? Nope. If we're going to make sacrifices, that includes the privileged and portfolioed in bi-coastal gated communities.
If they are not willing to make such sacrifices, that tells you all you need to know about this process.