By Joe Guzzardi
February 23, 2015
President Obama’s immigration action is on hold, pending the outcome of an appeal which will be filed this week. Reasonable people can disagree about whether Obama has the constitutional authority to stay deportation for five million unlawful immigrants.
But far fewer people are supporting the United States’ refugee policy which in recent weeks has admitted exiles from nations that have vowed to destroy America. Most potentially dangerous are the refugees pouring in from Syria and Somalia.
Earlier this month, the first wave of Syrians arrived in Kentucky. And during fiscal year 2015’s first four months, the U.S. has legally admitted 3,536 Somalis, an average of 884 a month, on pace to be an increase from FY 2014 when 9,000 were admitted.
The nearly 13,000 Somalis from 2014 and 2015 represent a large and growing pool of potential terrorists whose mission is clearly seen in the al-Shabaab video released over the weekend that calls for an attack on Minneapolis’ Mall of America. The tape purportedly shows six minutes of violent clips from the group’s murderous 2013 rampage on Kenya’s Westgate Mall which left 63 innocent people dead and wounded 175. Although the White House has remained quiet about the Somalia-based al- Shabaab’s history, the Islamic militants have ties to al-Queda and Boko Haram.
In light of the video, the U.S. must immediately get serious about who it lets into the country and who it absolutely must keep out. Today, we have no idea who’s coming in either through our borders or our multiple, lax visa programs. The Department of Homeland Security has made no serious effort to shore up America’s wide open borders or to enforce immigration law in the interior.
Said Jim Kallstrom, the retired assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, his former agency faces a “huge job.” Kallstrom added, “It would be nice if we knew what comes and goes into the country, but we don’t have a clue.”
DHS is trying to assuage an increasingly nervous public by promising that the incoming refugees will be thoroughly vetted. But the federal government hasn’t been able to efficiently oversee immigration programs of any type for more than five decades. Since his inauguration, President Obama has dedicated himself to gutting immigration laws, not enforcement. Obama apparently couldn’t care less, to coin Kallstrom, “what comes and goes into the country.”
The Mall of America is a huge target that attracts 40 million annual visitors, more than the total population of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Canada. To Islamic terrorists, the Mall symbolizes what they most detest about America—a frivolous country intent on shopping and corporal pleasure above all else.
The White House’s response to al-Shabaab’s threat came Sunday when DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson unpersuasively urged Mall shoppers “to be particularly vigilant.” Johnson’s comment came just days after the conclusion of the White House’s ineffective Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. A more comforting statement would have included a promise to block future refugees from terrorist-sponsoring states.
Refugees should be resettled in the countries nearest to the nations they are fleeing. Ideally, they should be placed in states that have common religions, cultures, and languages. Syria and Somalia are more than 6,000 miles away from predominantly Judeo-Christian America.
Admitting thousands of refugees whose true intentions can’t be confirmed and whose movements inside the U.S. are hard to track unnecessarily exposes Americans to potential catastrophic terrorist attacks. Better to establish a refugee moratorium than to suffer the fatal consequences of an ill-conceived and far too generous policy.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]