As the Obama administration prepares to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees, a second high-ranking Homeland Security official admits there’s no way to screen the new arrivals from the war-torn Muslim nation that’s a hotbed of terrorism.
During a recent congressional hearing a director with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which operates under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), confirmed that the U.S. has no method of vetting the new refugees because the Syrian government doesn’t have an intelligence database to run checks against. It’s actually embarrassing to watch the footage of the DHS director, Matthew Emrich, getting grilled by the senator who chairs the committee that conducted the hearing a few days ago. The session was held to address the fiscal and security implications of the Obama administration’s refugee resettlement program.
Under questioning from Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, Emrich admits that there is no reliable way to assure that individuals coming from Syria are properly checked. The exchange lasts about seven minutes and Emrich sounds desperate when he says “we check everything that we are aware of” and that “we are in the process of overturning every stone.” The bottom line is that there is no way to verify the identity of Syrians so the defeated Homeland Security official proceeds to say that “in many countries of the world from which we have traditionally accepted refugees over the years the United States government did not have extensive data holdings.”
Syria isn’t the typical country that sends over refugees, it’s a hotbed of Hezbollah militants and Al Qaeda-linked jihadists. Last year a study published by the RAND Corporation concluded that the most significant threat to the United States comes from terrorist groups operating in a handful of Middle Eastern countries that include Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The State Department also classifies Syria as a dangerous country plagued by terrorism.
“There is a terrorist threat from violent extremist groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, (ISIL), formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQ), the al-Nusrah Front, and others,” according to the State Department assessment. “Tactics for these groups include the use of suicide bombers, kidnapping, use of small and heavy arms, and improvised explosive devices in major city centers, including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr.”
Emrich’s testimony before the Senate panel comes on the heels of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director Michael Steinbach’s revelation that the U.S. government has no system to properly screen Syrian refugees. “The concern in Syria is that we don’t have systems in places on the ground to collect information to vet,” Steinbach said. “That would be the concern is we would be vetting — databases don’t hold the information on those individuals. “You’re talking about a country that is a failed state, that is — does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets — the police, the intel services — that normally you would go to seek information don’t exist.”
National security has never stopped the Obama administration from assisting potential terrorists to settle in the U.S. Just last month Judicial Watch reported on a “temporary” amnesty that DHS is offering to nationals of Yemen, another Islamic Middle Eastern country well known as an Al Qaeda breeding ground. Under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) illegal aliens from Yemen, headquarters of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), get to stay in the U.S. for at least 18 months.
In its latest Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department reveals that AQAP militants carried out hundreds of attacks including suicide bombers, vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), ambushes, kidnappings and targeted assassinations. The media has also documented this for years with one in-depth report confirming that “Yemen has emerged as the breeding grounds for some of the most high-profile plans to attack the U.S. homeland.”