Multiple Immigration System Failures Undermine National Security

Published on June 27th, 2016

CIA Director Brennan warns that ISIS is likely to exploit refugee flows, smuggling routes and legitimate methods of travel to attack the West

On June 16, John Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified before a hearing conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the various threats and challenges that confront our nation, including threats posed by ISIS to the United States, our allies and countries around the world. C-SPAN posted a video of the hearing.

Fox News put immigration front and center.

Here is an important excerpt from Brennan’s prepared testimony:

“Since at least 2014, ISIL has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against its foreign enemies, resulting in hundreds of casualties. The most prominent examples are the attacks in Paris and Brussels, which we assess were directed by ISIL’s leadership.

“We judge that ISIL is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks. ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West. And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the West, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.”

CIA Director John Brennan testified to the potential of
ISIS exploiting the U.S. immigration system.

Even as Brennan voiced his concerns about the multitude of ways that terrorists may infiltrate the U.S. and our Western allies, the administration continues to admit ever more refugees into the country who cannot be vetted effectively.

The scope and magnitude of the immigration crisis was not limited to Director Brennan’s worrying testimony.

On June 14, The Washington Times reported on a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Homeland Security on the topic, “Overstaying Their Welcome: National Security Risks Posed by Visa Overstays.”

Here is an excerpt from that Times article:

“At least 480,000 people overstayed their visas last year, adding to a backlog that’s reached some 5 million total, members of Congress said. But immigration agents launched investigations into just 10,000 of them, or about 0.2 percent, and arrested fewer than 2,000, less than 0.04 percent, saying the others don’t rise to the level of being priority targets.

“‘We utilize our prioritization scheme along with the resources that we have,’ Craig Healy, assistant director for national security investigations at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said as he struggled to defend the administration’s meager efforts.

“He blamed a shortage of funding and a tricky environment, where authorities only have limited information, and it takes them months to decide if someone really did overstay their visa and if they are deemed serious enough offenders to make an effort to go after.”

Healy complained that his agency suffered from a shortage of funding saying that there are only a little more than 100 investigators assigned to tracking down 5 million illegal aliens who violated their visas.

However, On December 2, 2015, The Washington Times reported, “ICE gives away $113 million, says not enough illegal immigrants to deport.” That article focused on the testimony of ICE Director Sarah Saldana, who conceded that although there may be as many as 15 million illegal aliens present in the U.S., due to a number of factors, including administration policies, ICE had returned $113 million in appropriated funds that were supposed to be used to arrest and deport illegal aliens.

Earlier this month, The Washington Free Beacon focused on a GAO report and flaws in the disastrous Visa Waiver Program. The disconcerting title of that article was, “Oversight Report: Foreign Nations Still Not Sharing Info on Terrorists With U.S.DHS failing to report security gaps to Congress.”

Here is an important excerpt from the article:

“The (GAO) report determined that ‘more than a third of [visa waiver participant] countries are not sharing terrorist identity information’ and that ‘more than a third of the countries have not yet shared criminal history information.’

“A similar number ‘were not sharing identity information about known or suspected terrorists’ required by current agreements.”

Once again I am forced to conclude that the agency upon which our safety and security depend should be renamed the Department of Homeland Surrender.

The next administration must do what the current administration abjectly refuses to do, effectively enforce our immigration laws, especially from within the U.S. interior. National security and innocent lives hang in the balance.

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