US will reach goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees; Obama wants more

The government says it has admitted 8,000 Syrian refugees so far this fiscal year, putting them on track to reach their stated goal of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the fiscal year in September.

But the administration says that number is a "floor, not a ceiling." If the pace of refugee resettlement continues, more than 12,000 refugees will enter the US.

Washington Times:

At today’s pace, more than 12,000 refugees could be admitted by the end of September, which marks the end of the fiscal year.

Those are part of the 85,000 total refugees from around the world that Mr. Obama has said he can accept.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez said he’s confident his officers can screen out potential terrorists and other bad actors even without access to the tools Mr. Comey said are important.

Mr. Rodriguez said they query U.S. government databases to see if there’s any derogatory information about an applicant, and said his officers do review the social media presence of “some” Syrian applicants.

Mr. Rodriguez said those checks have blocked “literally hundreds” of Syrians from gaining access. He said they approved 80 percent of applicants, have denied 7 percent, and have the other 13 percent on hold.

Top administration security experts, including FBI Director James Comey, had previously sounded warnings about Syrian refugees, saying that while they can query U.S. databases, they don’t have access to databases in Syria, nor do they have on-the-ground access needed for a more complete picture.

The increase in Syrian refugees has been controversial, particularly after some refugees were implicated in terrorist attacks in Europe over the last year. In addition, one man admitted as an Iraqi refugee, but who came from Syria, was charged in the U.S. earlier this year with supporting terrorists.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, Florida Republican, warned this week that as the Islamic State loses ground in the Middle East, it’s likely to send more operatives to conduct attacks in Europe and the U.S. — and he said that should cause the U.S. to shut down its Syrian refugee pipeline.

“We need to stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security,” he said in a letter to Mr. Obama.

The administration started off the fiscal year slowly, admitting only 187 Syrian refugees in October 2015. Facing the prospect of missing Mr. Obama’s goal, the administration surged resources and in July brought in nearly 2,500.

Indeed, the only way the Obama administration was able to speed up the admitting process was to cut corners in vetting the refugees. A process that once took 18 months was reduced to 3 months. That one fact makes the rejection numbers meaningless. 

It's unconscionable in this day and age to relax vetting procedures when, if anything, current events shows that we should be tightening them. I have confidence that, given time, the FBI and other agencies can sufficiently vet refugees to prevent terrorists from sneaking in. But three months doesn't cut it and the Obama administration continues to roll the dice with the safety and security of Americans.

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