Syrian refugees (Photo: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)
Intelligence officials revealed that it’s no longer just a threat, but an actual occurrence –ISIS terrorists have tried to use the refugee program to enter the United States, but President Obama is keeping that secret from getting out to the American public.
The bombshell was dropped by the head of the House Homeland Security Committee Monday during a speech at the National Defense University.
U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, declined to go into detail about the determination, the Hill reported.
Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, wrote President Obama warning that the Syrian refugee program could become a ‘back door for jihadists” to enter the U.S.
But the revelation will add ammunition to critics of the White House’s refugee plans who have warned that the program is vulnerable to infiltration by adherents of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“ISIS members in Syria have attempted to exploit it to get into the United States,” McCaul said during the speech.
“The U.S. government has information to indicate that individuals tied to terrorist groups in Syria have already attempted to gain access to our country through the U. S. refugee program.”
McCaul did not say who informed him and other lawmakers about the revelation, only describing the sources as “elements of the intelligence community,” according to the Hill.
McCaul has been warning since January that he believed the refugee program, which has been sending 60,00o to 150,000 or more foreign refugees to American cities per year over the past 35 years, could be exploited as a “back door for jihadists” into the U.S.
Almost all of the refugees resettled in the U.S. are hand-selected by the United Nations refugee agency.
McCaul described the source who informed him about the ISIS attempts to infiltrate as a brave patriot. It comes at a time when Obama wants to increase the number of refugees coming into the U.S. from 70,000 a year to 85,000 this year and 100,000 the following year. At least half of all refugees come from Muslim dominated countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sudan, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries with active jihadist movements.
“That was very courageous for them to come forward with this, to tell me about this personally, given the political debate on the Hill,” he added, suggesting that the news did not come from intelligence leaders.
The briefing happened “earlier this week,” McCaul said.
Clare Lopez, vice president of research for the Center for Security Policy in Washington, said it’s no surprise ISIS would use the refugee program to infiltrate American, because they promised to do so.
“The question for us and our senior policy makers now is ‘What do we do about this threat?’ Ignoring it while continuing to plan for an influx of thousands of Syrians and others whose jihadist affiliations — never mind sympathies — are a strong potential risk is irresponsible and needlessly endangers U.S. national security here – at home, in communities where we live,” she said.
Lopez said a moratorium on all refugee resettlements from Muslim countries is the only answer at this point.
“The best course of action at the moment is to pause indefinitely all refugee resettlement as well as all immigration from regions rife with jihad,” she said. “These would include all the countries on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement list of specially designated countries. Also, given that for the cost of bringing a single refugee to the U.S. for resettlement in a society that may be quite starkly different than their own, 12 refugees can be supported in a safe place much nearer to their places of origin, both geographically and culturally, it certainly makes much more sense financially as well as morally to allocate funding for their support closer to home.”
WND reported Sunday that Somali-American Mohammed Hassan, who was either a refugee or son of a refugee living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is a known terrorist recruiter for ISIS had direct communications with San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.
Hassan, a graduate of Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, left the country his senior year in 2008 and is believed to be living in either Somalia or Syria. He is known by the FBI as a prolific online recruiter of American jihadists.
Yet, President Obama has repeatedly used his bully pulpit in recent weeks to beat down criticism over his plans to import more refugees, including at least another 7,000 this year from the jihadist hotbed of Somalia and 10,000 from Syria, where the FBI has warned it is impossible to vet the refugees because they have no data with which to cross-check identities and backgrounds.
According to Obama and the U.S. State Department, refugees undergo “rigorous” screenings that last 18 to 24 months, making them the “most thoroughly vetted of all immigrants” coming into the country.
But the actual logistics of those screenings remain highly questionable because they depend heavily on “biographical data.”
According to critics such as U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., this is nothing but a fancy sounding term for what is actually the refugee telling a government interviewer his or her “story,” and then the government looking to see if it has any background data to confirm or reject that self-described story.
More than 90 percent of the Syrian refugees who have applied for refugee status coming to the U.S. have been approved, according to recent congressional testimony by agents with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Matthew Emrich, a chief investigator with that agency, confirmed under tough questioning from Sessions during an Oct. 1 hearing that the vast majority of cases turn up no data in Syria that allows the U.S. government to cross-reference and confirm even the identities of the refugees, let alone their potential criminal or terrorist backgrounds.
Sessions has also attempted to get the Obama administration to disclose the immigration histories of72 Muslim suspects arrested on terrorist charges since July of last year. Obama has ignored this request.