By Joe Guzzardi
November 16, 2015
In the Paris aftermath that left 129 dead and scores injured, here’s one of the key discoveries: a Syrian passport police found at one of the slaughter scenes was issued to Ahmad al Mohammad, an ISIS asylum seeker who traveled to France via a popular migrant route through the Balkans, notorious for its lax controls.
Here at home, the Paris attacks and their Muslim terrorist perpetrators have set off a renewed round of heated debate about the wisdom of President Obama’s goal to bring 10,000 more Syrians to America during the next fiscal year despite terrorist experts’ overwhelming testimony that his plan is suicidal. FBI director James Comey said his agency has 900 active domestic investigations in all 50 states into jihadists’ cells. Former FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Jim Bernazzani said that if he supervised ISIS, he’d take advantage of the Obama administration’s refugee largess to put more of its terrorists into the U.S.
And House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul warned that more refugee resettlement would be highly dangerous to innocent Americans. Nevertheless, Obama through his Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said he will not “pause” in his effort to accelerate Syrians’ flow even though ISIS has promised that the U.S. will be its next target. U.S. Rep. Peter King immediately challenged Rhodes, politely called his statement “misleading,” and added that the fight against ISIS is a “battle for civilization.”
But some states are already balking at accepting Syrian refugees. Immediately after the Paris attacks, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal demanded to know how many refugees the administration plans to place in his state, and insisted on knowing the level of screening done on those already resettled in New Orleans. Alabama and Michigan governors have flatly stated that they’ll suspend admitting Syrians refugees. In a heartening comment, Michigan’s Rick Snyder, who earlier this year pledged to bring 50,000 refugees to his state to “revitalize Detroit,” said “our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley echoed Snyder and said that he “will not place Alabamians at even the slightest, possible risk of an attack on our people.”
Despite the encouraging news that two governors have said no to more refugees and a third wants answers, the battle to stall the administration on its refugee master plan will be uphill. Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) want an additional $1 billion to facilitate Syrian resettlement. And the Democratic presidential candidates, one of which presumably will be the 2016 nominee, cannot utter the phrase “Islamic terrorists” lest it offend.
A more effective, more economical solution to resettlement is readily achievable. According to Center for Immigration Studies’ research, on average each Middle Eastern refugee resettled in the U.S. costs taxpayers an estimated $64,370 for the first five years or $257,481 per household, totals which include processing fees and welfare benefits. Alternatively, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees requested $1,057 annually to care for each Syrian refugee in countries that neighbor Syria. In other words, for the cost to resettle one refugee in the U.S., 12 refugees could be helped in the Middle East for five years or 61 refugees for one year.
The math is simple, and the potentially American life-saving consequences clear: refugees should be resettled close to home. No one can reasonably disagree with the simple premise that U.S. citizens are safer if the administration bans Syrian refugees from America at this time.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected]