Should we halt refugee resettlement from Syria due to concerns about ISIS-infiltrators?
Here’s a recent article at CNN on the refugee resettlement process. Here’s some further context by CIS, skeptical of the process but confirming some of the particulars. Fundamentally, out of millions of refugees, only a small portion enter the United States, and not by their choice but by decisions by those running resettlement programs.
So far as I can tell, though it’s not stated explicitly, in the end, getting selected to move out of a refugee camp and into the United States is much like winning the lottery. True, it’s possible that there could be some bribery going on, in terms of influencing the UN’s selections, but it’s a wholly different situation than what’s going on in Europe.
If you want to go to Europe as a refugee, you cross the border to Greece or Italy by paying a smuggler. Then you continue making your way to your country of choice, and declare yourself to be Syrian, either because you actually are or because you’ve purchased a falsified passport.
If you want to come to the United States as a refugee, you go to a refugee camp, and wait. And maybe you’ll get in, but, far more likely, you wait out the war in that refugee camp.
This is a lousy strategy for a terror group to use to plant cells in the United States, especially when they have more effective strategies at their disposal, without the wait time and the low probability of success: recruit from Muslims already living here. Send over individuals from third countries (e.g., Saudis) who are eligible for tourist visas. Or pay smugglers to cross illegally from Mexico.
Now, I’m not saying that I support of the Obama administration’s plan to substantially ramp up admissions of Syrian refugees. To begin with,their process leaves behind many in greatest need; at least, I’ve read on multiple occasions that Christians are fearful of registering at official Refugee Camps, and hence are ineligible for resettlement even though they are most in need. In addition, I concur with Mark Krikorian (per my post from yesterday) that we are spending our money foolishly if we help one refugee in the United States when that same money could be helping 12 refugees in the region, and those camps are in need of substantial infusions of money. What’s more, resettlement of refugees in the United States is permanent; it wholly forecloses the possibility of repatriation and should only be done in cases where it is clear that under no circumstances is repatriation a possibility now or in the future. And, finally, as described by the CIS piece linked above, our programs at present are being run without regard to assimilation. We are taking it for granted that the mere fact of being a refugee makes an individual willing to assimilate to the United States’ cultural norms, including that of democracy, respect for all religions and cultures, and respect for the equality of women — but, even if those in refugee camps are not directly ISIS-affiliated, there is certainly every likelihood that a fair number of them, if not the majority of refugees, believe in the superiority of Sharia and the inferiority of women.
But ISIS infiltrators? That’s a red herring.
Twitchy has now reported an example: “5 Syrians traveling from France to the U.S. arrested with stolen passports in Honduras” — not many details, but they had stolen Greek passports and planned to travel on to the U.S. using these passports. Why they had a change of planes in Honduras isn’t clear, unless they feared that the passports wouldn’t pass muster at U.S. passport control at the airport, so planned to complete the trip by illegally crossing the border. But it nonetheless demonstrates that ISIS infiltrators are not going to bother trying to claim refugee status because they have faster and more reliable ways of getting in the country. It’s like the man who doesn’t need to outrun the bear but just his hiking companion.