Letter: Security concerns make accepting refugees risky

From: Arnie Krause


I am writing in response to the column “Disarming our own fear” by Dennis McCarty and the letter “Turning away refugees not in our character” by Michael Greven. Both justify allowing Syrian refugees in the U.S. as a matter of human compassion, with no concern for national security.

I recommend they read “Syrian Refugee Flows Security Risks and Counterterrorism Challenges,” the November 2015 preliminary findings of a House Homeland Security Committee review. It has been reported that recent warning signs have raised concerns that ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups have been attempting to infiltrate refugee flows. Two of the Paris terrorist attackers had forged Syrian passports.

Yes, America has a proud tradition of refugee resettlement. However, the United States currently lacks the information and databases needed to confidently screen refugees from Syria and to identify possible terrorism connections. FBI Director James Comey stated we do not have people on the ground with information or databases to verify the possibility of ISIS infiltration into U.S.-bound refugee populations.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees starts the initial process, which determines if a prospective applicant meets the legal definition of a refugee and refers the refugee to the United States for additional screening. Comey stated despite security enhancements to the vetting process, many senior officials remain concerned about the high risks and acknowledge the possibility of ISIS infiltration into U.S.-bound Syrian refugee populations.

Surging admissions into the United States will result in an increase in federal law enforcement’s counterterrorism caseload, which is currently overloaded with over 900 to 1,000 high-risk investigations of terrorist suspects located in all 50 states. It is reported that Syrian refugee populations in Europe are already being targeted by terrorist extremists in communities they have settled.

The findings of the House Homeland Security Committee review was “Immediate action must be taken to temporarily suspend the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States until the nation’s leading intelligence and law enforcement agencies can certify the refugee screening process is adequate to detect individuals with terrorist ties.”

The U.S. House has passed a bill to suspend the Syrian refugee program. The United States said it will give $419 million more in humanitarian aid to assist Syrian refugees and the countries that are hosting them, administration officials recently said. The new aid brings the total U.S. donation since the Syrian conflict began in 2011 to $4.5 billion, more than any other country. I believe this confirms we are compassionate. There comes a time with our $19 trillion national debt that we have to determine when enough is enough, before we go broke.

Recent polls show a majority of Americans say they want to end the Syrian refugee program due to security concerns based on security experts’ recommendations.