State Department wants to speed up process of bringing Syrian refugees to US

The state deparment isn't satisfied with the pace of bringing Syrian refugees to the US and wants to dramatically increase the number in the next few months.

So far, about 1300 Syrians have been resettled. But state wants to increase the number of refugees to 1500 a month.

The Hill:

“It's clear that ISIS wants to, has planned on attempting to infiltrate refugee populations. This is a problem. If one person gets through who is planning a terrorist attack in our country, that's a problem,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who recently returned from a trip to the region, said Thursday.

“The administration — whether it's Homeland Security or the FBI, cannot tell us that they can adequately screen people. There isn't really a Syria to talk to on that end of the equation to vet people, so it is a problem,” Ryan told reporters.

The State Department says it has fallen behind schedule in meting Obama’s goal partly due to a lack of personnel available to interview refugees. 

It is now doing a “surge operation” in Amman, Jordan, that is designed to process the rest of the Syrian refugees in as little as three months and leave them enough time to get to the U.S. before September. 

The State Department has devoted more staff in Amman to focus on processing Syrian refugees, as well as hired new employees, which the department says it needed anyway. 

“By putting more officers in one place we can conduct more interviews. Partly we have a backlog because we don’t have enough officers to interview people,” Larry Bartlett, the State Department's director of the Office of Refugee Admissions, told The Hill in a recent interview. 

“So part of it is a little bit of shifting. We’ve also done some new hiring, and it was hiring that was timely. Those were people we needed anyway but they came onboard in time for this surge operation,” said Bartlett. He did not say how many staff were added in Amman. 

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has prioritized sending more refugees to the U.S. than other countries, he said.

So far, about 9,500 Syrians have been interviewed in Amman since February 1, and 12,000 interviews should be completed by April 28, according to a State Department spokesperson. 

Republican critics argue that speeding up the process to as little as three months will make it easier for terrorists to slip through. 

European law enforcement and counter terrorism authorities believe at least 500 ISIS terrorists have slipped into EU countries during the recent surge in refugees. It's madness not to expect ISIS to make every effort to infiltrate any groups of refugees coming to the United States. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

If we vetted these refugees the same way we would vet anyone from a foreign country applying for residency, we'd probably catch a lot more ISIS infiltrators. But that's just not fast enough a process for our president who wants the Syrians here yesterday. Their deliberate carelessness will cost us dearly in the end.

The state deparment isn't satisfied with the pace of bringing Syrian refugees to the US and wants to dramatically increase the number in the next few months.

So far, about 1300 Syrians have been resettled. But state wants to increase the number of refugees to 1500 a month.

The Hill:

“It's clear that ISIS wants to, has planned on attempting to infiltrate refugee populations. This is a problem. If one person gets through who is planning a terrorist attack in our country, that's a problem,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who recently returned from a trip to the region, said Thursday.

“The administration — whether it's Homeland Security or the FBI, cannot tell us that they can adequately screen people. There isn't really a Syria to talk to on that end of the equation to vet people, so it is a problem,” Ryan told reporters.

The State Department says it has fallen behind schedule in meting Obama’s goal partly due to a lack of personnel available to interview refugees. 

It is now doing a “surge operation” in Amman, Jordan, that is designed to process the rest of the Syrian refugees in as little as three months and leave them enough time to get to the U.S. before September. 

The State Department has devoted more staff in Amman to focus on processing Syrian refugees, as well as hired new employees, which the department says it needed anyway. 

“By putting more officers in one place we can conduct more interviews. Partly we have a backlog because we don’t have enough officers to interview people,” Larry Bartlett, the State Department's director of the Office of Refugee Admissions, told The Hill in a recent interview. 

“So part of it is a little bit of shifting. We’ve also done some new hiring, and it was hiring that was timely. Those were people we needed anyway but they came onboard in time for this surge operation,” said Bartlett. He did not say how many staff were added in Amman. 

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has prioritized sending more refugees to the U.S. than other countries, he said.

So far, about 9,500 Syrians have been interviewed in Amman since February 1, and 12,000 interviews should be completed by April 28, according to a State Department spokesperson. 

Republican critics argue that speeding up the process to as little as three months will make it easier for terrorists to slip through. 

European law enforcement and counter terrorism authorities believe at least 500 ISIS terrorists have slipped into EU countries during the recent surge in refugees. It's madness not to expect ISIS to make every effort to infiltrate any groups of refugees coming to the United States. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

If we vetted these refugees the same way we would vet anyone from a foreign country applying for residency, we'd probably catch a lot more ISIS infiltrators. But that's just not fast enough a process for our president who wants the Syrians here yesterday. Their deliberate carelessness will cost us dearly in the end.