Leo Hohmann, WND, May 22, 2015
A group of 14 Democrat senators has written a letter to President Obama urging him to “dramatically increase” the number of Syrian refugees being resettled into American cities and towns.
They say the U.S. needs to take in at least 65,000 Syrians as permanent refugees over the next year-and-a-half.
“While the United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees, we must also dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees that we accept for resettlement,” says the four-page letter to Obama, copied to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
More than 3.5 million Syrians are registered with the United Nations as refugees, and the U.N. wants to assign about 350,000 of them to so-called “third-party countries.”
The 14 senators, led by Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., cite the research of the Refugee Council USA to make their case for 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016. RCUSA is the main lobbying arm of the nine agencies that contract with the federal government to resettle refugees in cities and towns across America.
The more refugees brought into the country, the more government grants doled out to the nine resettlement agencies. Among them are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Church World Service, International Rescue Committee and the National Association of Evangelicals’ World Relief.
“The vast majority of these refugees are women and children, including two million children,” the letter states, using language similar to what Democrats used to justify the entry of some 60,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last year. “An entire generation of Syrian children is at risk.
“More than ten thousand Syrian children have been killed, and half of Syrian refugee children are not attending school, more than one-hundred thousand are working to support their families, and thousands are unaccompanied or separated from their parents.
“[W]e urge your Administration to work to accept at least 50 percent of Syrian refugees whom UNCHR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] is seeking to resettle, consistent with our nation’s traditional practice under both Republican and Democratic Presidents.”
The letter also addresses the security concerns about accepting Syrians who may have ties to the various Islamic extremist factions fighting to overthrow and replace Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Among them are ISIS, Jabat al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army.
“We fully support your Administration’s efforts to ensure that any potential security concerns are addressed by strengthening security checks for refugees with the latest technology and information,” the letter states.
“Refugees are the most carefully vetted of all travelers to the U.S., with extensive biometric, biographic, intelligence, and law enforcement checks involving numerous agencies,” the letter says, parroting the U.S. State Department talking points about the quality of the screening process for refugees.
The problem with that argument, however, is that it has been debunked by FBI counter-terrorism experts who have openly admitted it is virtually impossible to screen Syrian refugees, precisely because U.S. agents don’t have access to reliable biometric and law enforcement data. As WND previously reported, Michael Steinbach, deputy assistant director of the FBI counter-terrorism unit, admitted at a hearing before the House Homeland Security committee on Feb. 11 that reliable records are not available in a “failed state” like Syria.
The House Homeland Security Committee was scheduled to hold another hearing this week on the national security risks associated with the Syrian refugees, but that hearing was postponed Thursday until further notice.