FBI: Agency Has ‘No Proper Way’ to Vet Syrian Refugees

Published on September 16th, 2015

Joe Guzzardi
September 16, 2015

Having just returned from a few days on Capitol Hill visiting House Republican representatives and their legislative assistants, I can assure readers that GOP support for taking in 10,000 Syrian refugees is virtually non-existent.
Congress is keeping a watchful eye on the chaotic EU scene, especially Germany, and is seeing plenty of evidence that no matter how many migrants a country may be willing to accept, the number will never be enough to keep up with the demand. A few days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited 800,000 refugees to resettle in Deutschland, the country is in crisis mode.  Social Democratic vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, predicted that Germany might end up accepting one million migrants rather than the originally projected 800,000.
Beyond Germany, reports about refugees’ behavior have caused the House to do a double take. A UNRFC representative noted that the Syrian refuges were “the most difficult” he’d ever seen and made unreasonable demands that reflect a sense of entitlement. Most troubling, however, is the confirmed reports of rampant passport fraud. Non-Syrians from North African or other Middle Eastern countries easily obtain fake Syrians passports of quality high enough to fool European bureaucrats.
The bogus passports should be a huge concern to the U.S. which is facing advocates’ demands to accommodate more than 100,000 Syrians—ten times the total President Obama first indicated he’d support. The FBI has definitively stated that it has no proper way to efficiently and accurately vet the incoming refugees.
In February Michael Steinback, FBI Assistant Director, told the House Homeland Security Committee and its Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) that despite its best efforts his agency doesn’t have a vetting system “even close to being under control.” Asked specifically if bringing in more Syrians would pose a greater terrorism risk to Americans, Steinback unhesitatingly acknowledged that it would.
Last week, Mc Caul expressed renewed the concern that ISIS will use the refugee crisis to sneak into the United States. McCaul pointed out that Obama apparently wants to surge thousands of Syrian into the U. S. despite consistent warnings from the intelligence community and federal law enforcement that the nation does not have the capacity or the skills in place to weed out terrorists from legitimate refugees. What the U.S. does know and may be helpless to prevent is that ISIS will try to use refugee routes as cover to sneak its operatives into America.
Congress and Obama could be headed toward another in a long series of showdowns, this time over the refugees. McCaul implored the president to consult with Congress, which the 1980 Refugee Act requires, before taking drastic action and to speak honestly with Americans about the risks inherent in a significantly larger Syrian intake. Given Obama’s refusal to work with Congress on other immigration issues, no one expects him to start cooperating now.
Whether it’s Germany, the U.S. or any other industrialized nation, opening the door intensifies the crisis since the gesture attracts more refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, “Helping refugees in their regions of origin…is a lot cheaper than it is to help them only when they get here….solutions include enabling people to go home, or at least to stay as close to home as possible.” Placing the Syrians across an ocean from their homes makes their return journey not only difficult, but unlikely.

 Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]

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