Syrian Exodus: U.S. is raising the limit on the number of refugees from around the world allowed to enter the United States — from 70,000 this year to 85,000 next year and 100,000 in fiscal 2017
The Syrian refugees bound for the U.S. will be screened to “ensure that none of them are terrorists,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday.
“In this environment, the first impulse may be to suspect all Muslims living among us in this country are potential terrorists,” he said. “The reality is the self-proclaimed Islamic State does not represent the Islamic faith, and we must not confuse the two.”
Johnson’s assurances come amid concerns that extremists from the Islamic State could blend in with the asylum seekers and circumvent the security checks. Johnson made it a point to remind the American public not to confuse the Islamic State and Islam with refugees.
One question which arose immediately was how in the world we were going to screen out any potential terrorists.
When asked directly by a reporter about whether the screenings will be expedited, Johnson said, “We want to try to accomplish the vetting and resettlement in a certain time frame.” That question has now been put to other administration officials as well as and their answers are beyond troubling. In fact, it sounds like they have no idea who will be doing the screening or how we’ll pay for it.
Part of the problem is that the U.S. government has not addressed the growing refugee crisis for several years and is just now rushing to action. In its last budget request, the administration requested $2.45 billion for migration and refugee assistance — $600 million less than what Congress appropriated the year before. The $2.45 billion request is up from seeking $2.05 billion the year before.
Also, the US Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) are overstretched already and fear not having enough money and people to keep up with an asylum expansion.
“I take ISIS at its word when it said … we’ll use the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West. That concerns me,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul. “We don’t have the systems in place on the ground in Syria to properly vet these individuals. We don’t know who they are.”
The White House, Democrats and Republicans all seem to agree that the only real way to solve the refugee crisis is to solve the Syrian civil war, but there’s no political resolution in sight and the administration has no intention of pushing the military balance against the Assad regime. The Syrian refugee crisis is going to continue and get much worse before it gets better.
This sounds for all the world like “just trust me” in terms of pulling this off and relies on everyone simply assuming that it’s all going to work out in the end. With all due respect to our elected leaders, we’ve watched you guys in action for quite a while now and that’s a pretty big ask.
The alternative, of course, is just to declare the situation an “extraordinary circumstance” and open the flood gates. How do you suppose that’s going to work out?
Syrian Crisis: U.S. Humanitarian Assistance
Aug. 7: To help those affected by the crisis in Syria, the U.S. has contributed more than $4 billion in humanitarian assistance. Roughly half of this assistance is being distributed to organizations working inside Syria; the balance is going to assist refugees and to the communities that host them throughout the region. More»