By Joe Guzzardi
September 21, 2015
During the last 60 years, the United States hasn’t effectively managed a single immigration program. Since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, most visas have been subject to widespread fraud, or to bureaucratic bungling. Legal and illegal immigration have ballooned to unprecedented and unsustainable totals, 42.5 million in the U.S. as of the second quarter, 2015.
To think then that the Department of Homeland Security can successfully vet whatever the final total of Syrian refugees may be—10,000 or more depending on who in Washington D.C. gets his way—is dangerous folly. Advocates’ demands for evermore refugees increases weekly. The historic total is 70,000 annually, but Secretary of State John Kerry called for 85,000 by 2016 and 100,000 in 2017
Over the last few years, the United Nations refugee agency has referred about 17,000 Syrians for U.S. resettlement. About 1,500 are already in the U.S., with another 300 set to arrive this month. That leaves about 15,000 Syrians in the queue but waiting for their clearing process to end, according to the State Department.
In the midst of the heated Capitol Hill debate comes the chilling report from the U.K. that ISIS terrorists are able to buy genuine Syrian passports stolen from government offices by militias fighting Bashar Al-Assad. A Daily Mail journalist purchased a Syrian passport, a driver’s license and an identity card for $2,000. The forger who sold the paperwork confirmed that ISIS is infiltrating Europe with the counterfeit documents, and once inside the EU plan to migrate to the U.S. He added that “everyone” from the Arab world wants to be Syrian including Iraqis, Palestinians and Egyptians.
The EU border agency, Frontex, found an increase in the seizure of Syrian passports for sale, and admitted that the extent of the fraud “is on the rise.” An EU official acknowledged that there is little doubt that jihadists will exploit the refugee crisis to gain entry to Europe. The fake passports provide terrorists with the perfect cover.
Instead of pausing to evaluate the possible consequences of admitting thousands more mostly Muslim Syrians, the Obama administration is ploughing headlong into opening America’s doors wider. But House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) introduced the Refugee Resettlement Oversight and Security Act that would require congressional approval by the House and Senate before refugees could be admitted. McCaul’s bill would also allow Congress to block any unacceptable presidential refugee resettlement levels, require the administration when considering refugees from Iraq and Syria to prioritize the resettlement of oppressed religious minorities, and ensure that the Department of National Intelligence and the FBI provide guarantees that no security gaps exist in the vetting process.
Their findings would be subject to a comprehensive Government Accountability Office review and its consent.
McCaul observed that Americans are properly concerned that inadequate screening could facilitate ISIS’ ability to fulfill its pledge to take advantage of the refugee crisis and do the nation deadly harm.
Note that McCaul’s bill doesn’t mean that the U.S. won’t take in thousands of Syrians. What it does mean, however, is that there will be a decision-making process that involves, as the 1980 Refugee Act requires, Americans’ elected representatives evaluating and voting on the pros and cons of such a colossally important decision.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]