For all of you who had to do something productive yesterday afternoon, like go to work! here is a link to the C-span video of the hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest that ran a little over two hours.
As far as we can tell this is the first Congressional oversight hearing held on the refugee program since 911!
Everyone in ‘Pockets of Resistance’ must watch it! You will learn so much!
See our post here on the hearing so you know the background and who the players are.
I’ve got way too much to do before I leave for travel today, but there are a few things that interested me (among many!) that I want to draw your attention to when you watch the video.
If any readers would like to write a short commentary on what you found most informative/shocking or whatever, please send it my way and I’ll post when I return from Tennessee.
Below, not necessarily in order either time-wise or in importance. (If anyone has time to send me the time stamps for these exchanges, I would be very grateful.)
Witness Barbara Strack (USCIS) actually mentioned the widespread fraud discovered in the family reunification portion of the program back in 2008. She deserves credit for mentioning it, but of course most listeners probably did not know what she was talking about. This was in response to Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) suggesting family reunification be expanded.
Here is the background! First revealed by the Wall Street Journal in 2008, the US State Department learned that thousands of Somali refugees had entered the US by lying on their applications about family relationships. The so-called P-3 program was suspended for years as a result! None of the fraudulent entrants were ever deported. Go here to see links for the news.
So all the discussion about “interviews” as part of the process of gaining entry into the US is suspect because, guess what! They lie!
Consultation is a joke!
Near the end of the hearing, Senator Sessions asked about whether there was consultation with the communities that would be receiving the refugees, and Lawrence Bartlett (US State Department) said with a straight face that there are quarterly consultations with stakeholders and elected officials.
He did not mention that the taxpaying public is prohibited from attending! He did not mention that if elected officials are hostile, they aren’t invited. He did not mention that in many communities there is no quarterly meeting. He did not mention that the meeting usually only involves ‘stakeholders’ that are friendlies. Go here to a post we wrote in May about the efforts by citizens in St. Cloud, MN to get into a ‘quarterly consultation’ (while ‘leaders of the Somali ‘community’ had been invited), but were told initially that they were not permitted to attend. (After a public outcry, a few representatives of the concerned public did eventually gain entry to a sanitized meeting.)
They really don’t know who the Syrians are!
Perhaps the most embarrassing moments of the hearing for witnesses were when Mr. Matthew Emrich (Associate Director, Fraud Detection And National Security Directorate of the USCIS) could not tell Senator Sessions how they could possibly collect data on the Syrians who have left their failed state. When we get a bit of the video pulled for that exchange, we’ll link it. ***Update*** here (thanks to reader Robin) is the exchange between Senator Sessions and Mr. Emrich.
Boston Bombers exchange
If you were confused by the exchange on the Tsarnaev (Boston Bomber family) and Ms. Strack’s assertion that they were not “refugees,” she was technically correct. We bring refugees into the country after we/UNHCR select them.
It was widely reported after the bombing that the family had been granted asylum (under the provisions of the Refugee Act of 1980). That means that one of them (the Dad we suspect) got into the US through some other means (perhaps overstayed a tourist visa) and applied for asylum and was successful and thus was allowed to bring in the family. As asylees (successful asylum seekers) they are then generally referred to as ‘political refugees’ and can (and did!) avail themselves of all the same welfare goodies that refugees receive.
The fact that they were travelling back and forth to their place of supposed persecution should have been a red-flag to immigration officials.
Senator Sessions needs to press Ms. Strack further in follow-up questions to identify the exact LEGAL program the Tsarnaev’s used to enter the country, unless, and this would be headline news, they were here illegally (and being supported on the taxpayer’s dime).
See also, Brenda Walker’s take on the hearing, here at Limits to Growth (she posted Senator Sessions wrap-up statement).
I’ll add additional media reports here as they come in today (before I leave if possible).
Be sure to see Leo Hohmann at WND here on the hearing.