History Proves Vetting Refugees Not Enough, Doesn’t Stop Radicalized Terrorists

Published on November 25th, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
November 25, 2015

The raging Capitol Hill debate is centered on whether accepting Syrian Muslim refugees is the humanitarian thing to do or the certain path to a terrorist attack. President Obama is urging an additional 10,000 next year while Republican presidential candidates are pushing back.

But the question of whether to resettle Syrians isn’t being framed properly. If Obama prevails, the total Syrians the United States will take in isn’t 10,000, but eventually tens of thousands. If a majority of Americans oppose accepting 10,000, then if asked how they would feel about bringing in many, many more, the majority would likely approach 100 percent.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers several options for refugees or asylees to bring their spouses and unmarried children under age 21 to the United States. This process is available to refugees even if they have lived in the U. S. less than two years. Importantly, Syrians are not the only
refugees that qualify for so called family reunification; it applies to others from terrorism hotbed nations like Somalia, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name only a few. Obviously, it doesn’t take long for the refugee population from any given nation to increase dramatically through reunification and natural births.

Examine, for example, the most recent terrorist slaughters, and the challenges that accepting large numbers of inadequately vetted refugees can pose. Although the media consistently referred to the Paris perpetrators as “Belgian,” and while they were in fact born in Belgium, they are of Middle East ancestry with parents and grandparents who have migrated over the last fifty years, but are largely unassimilated. The terrorists aren’t Belgian in the word’s true sense.

Not only could incidents similar to the Paris massacre happen in the U.S., they already have. And the outward appearance of assimilation, even for years, can be deceptive. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a second generation Palestinian, went on a 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and injuring more than 30. Convicted and appealing his death sentence, Hasan has written to the Islamic State leader to request citizenship in the terrorist organization. The Washington Times reported that Hasan signed his letter with his name and the initials, SoA—Soldier of Allah.

Then, there’s the first-generation Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev who planted two pressure cooker bombs at the 2013 Boston Marathon that killed three and injured more than 250. Later during a pursuit, the brothers murdered an MIT policeman.

And most recently in 2015, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, a Kuwaiti-born Jordanian citizen who became a naturalized American as a child, killed four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga. Abdulazeez had earned an engineering degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Insisting, as Obama does, that the Syrian refugees will be exhaustively vetted and Americans have nothing to fear is preposterous. Even if they enter with no ill intentions, many of them may become radicalized, and then represent grave threats.

Last week, at a House immigration subcommittee hearing, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) asked State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services representatives to explain why, if the administration is so effective at screening foreign nationals, the nation has five million visa overstays.

Goodlatte didn’t get an answer, and the Obama officials’ silence tells Americans that weeding out terrorists from legitimate refugees is a task too great for the federal government.

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

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