Why are we bringing Iraqis from Syria?

A reader sent me today’s Washington Post article about our “heroic” efforts to pluck Iraqi refugees out of Syria and bring them to America…..and, sent some probing questions.

“We had to literally build programs in Syria and Jordan,” said Terry Rusch, who directs the office of admissions in the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. She added that the refugee program has “accelerated dramatically” now that resources are in place.


Of the 4,300 Iraqi refugees interviewed by his department this fiscal year, he said, 753 have been rejected for reasons including criminal records and inconsistencies in their stories.


The officials conceded continued difficulty in processing cases in Syria, where a number of U.S. officials have been denied entry visas.


“Not only has DHS (Dept. of Homeland Security) not been able to get in to do more adjudications, but we have not been able to expand our own processing staff at the pace we would normally have done because of restrictions by the government of Syria,” Rusch said.


Syria has absorbed 1.5 million Iraqi refugees — by far the most of any nation. But since September 2006, only 208 have been admitted to the United States after being processed in that country.

Here is what our reader asks:

Why are we “building programs” in an enemy country, Syria? If refugees were safe in Syria, why are we helping them? (Why were they safe?) Are we giving money to Syria for refugee camps? If so, how much?

And here is what I want to know:   If we can’t get enough of the proper personel into Syria in the first place, how are we going to adequately screen large numbers of refugees to be sure they aren’t criminals or terrorists?  

Answer?  We have completely lost it!

And, by the way, Terry Rusch (above) is the State Department representative who came to Hagerstown just this week.   The recent uproar over some proposed Burmese refugees is nothing compared to the outcry that will ensue if Shiia Iraqis from Syria were to be resettled in Hagerstown!  I’ll be selling tickets for ring side seats!

More on Hagerstown snow storm—how to trick the public

As I mentioned previously,  I had high hopes for straight answers at the Hagerstown Refugee Resettlement forum on September 19.    Here is an example of how government officials confuse the public:  

The question, asked of the US State Department, went something like this (shortened here):  Doesn’t Refugee Resettlement cost the taxpayers about one billion a year?   But, the questioner made the fatal error of using the word “grants” in the question somewhere.    This allowed the federal representative to say, according to her numbers the grants were around $500 million, not a billion.   

The average citizen has no clue about various funding mechanisms in differant agencies of the government,  and isn’t expected to know that there are government grants and contracts,  in addition to other funding categories. 

This is how the question should have been answered truthfully:   The grants portion is primarily a function of the Dept. of Health and Human Services and is in the vicinity of $500 million (actually I think its closer to $600 million this year), and our (State Dept.) portion includes contracts etc. and is around $200 million right now.   Homeland Security expends about $12  $20 million for its portion of refugee resettlement.  And then, yes, there are other expenses borne at various levels of government (school, medical and so on).   Then look the questioner in the eye and say YES, the cost for Refugee Resettlement is around one billion a year.   

Is that so hard?    Why play a little game of semantics?   Stop insulting us, and tell us the truth!  When you don’t, people ask, well what else are they not telling us?

See the September Forum category to follow our coverage of this meeting.