Here they come—the first 2,000 Syrian refugees (some of the most difficult refugees in the world!) will be processed into the US in the coming months.
We will be waiting to see if the US Catholic Bishops, Church World Service and the Lutherans demand that only the beleaguered Christians be allowed to enter. (But, we won’t be holding our breath!)
From Foreign Policy (hat tip: a friend from Tennessee):
With conditions continuing to deteriorate in Syria, the Obama administration is making a major policy shift by agreeing for the first time to allow thousands of new Syrian refugees into the United States,The Cable has learned.
The numbers are relatively small: just 2,000 refugees, compared to an estimated two million peoplewho have fled Syria during the civil war. But it’s a significant increase from the 90 or so Syrian refugees who have been permanently admitted to the U.S. in the last two years. And it’s not entirely uncontroversial. The refugees, mostly women and children, will be screened for terrorist ties — a process that could take a year or more to complete.
Unlike previous efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to give temporary protected status to Syrians already in the United States, the State Department effort will bring in Syrians from overseas for permanent resettlement in America.
“Referrals will come within the next four months. We will need to interview people and perform security and medical checks,” Kelly Clements, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Population, Refugees, and Migration, tells The Cable.
By Clements’ own admission, given application processing times, “We’re not likely to see Syrian refugees into those numbers before well into 2014.”
Ah, the truth!
Despite their vulnerable condition, even the youngest of children will be thoroughly vetted to ensure they do not pose a national security threat. It’s not that they’re worried about infants enlisting in al Qaeda. The worry is that terrorist relatives can more easily enter the United States, once they have relatives in America. “Refugees are subject to an intensive security screening process involving federal intelligence, law enforcement, defense, and homeland security agencies,” a State Department official said. “The U.S. government makes every possible effort to uphold and enhance the security screening aspects of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugees are among the most carefully screened of individuals traveling to the United States.” [One day I’ll make a list of all the refugee terrorists and criminals that got through the screening!—ed]
Wow! I didn’t know that Germany sends them back!
Other major resettlement countries, such as Germany, have pledged to bring in up to 13,000 refugees since the fighting began. However, unlike in the U.S., refugees to Germany are required to return after the fighting subsides. “We’re very proud of the fact that the U.S. judges applicants on need and seek out the most needy cases,” Erol Kekic, director of immigration at the Church World Service, tells The Cable.
If you are concerned about the Obama Syrian resettlement plan be sure to let your Senators and Member of Congress know of your concerns!
It’s yet to be seen if Congress will push back against the Obama administration’s acceptance of the Syrian refugees. (Ordinarily, the U.S. only admits refugees after a conflict has gone on for five years or longer.) Though the State Department’s refugee admission program is authorized by a presidential determination, it does involve consultation with Congress. [Consultation is a joke! Congress let’s them do whatever they want!—-ed]
For more, our complete Syrian refugee archive is here.
The photo is from this story. They really aren’t saying yippee, but they could be!