[Melineh Kano, executive director of Refugee One] said Wednesday that 21 Syrian refugees have been approved by the federal government to enter the United States and are currently waiting in other countries — such as Egypt and Lebanon — for travel and living arrangements to be finalized before coming to Illinois. It’s unclear how the process will play out in light of Rauner’s announcement.
In the 12-month period ending in July, 131 Syrian refugees were resettled in Illinois, mostly in the Chicago area, Kano said. […]
Out of the approximately 800,000 refugees who have been resettled in the United States since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, only three individuals have been detained and questioned by authorities for questionable affiliations — detainments that have not resulted in convictions, she said. […]
Jessica H. Darrow, a University of Chicago lecturer who has made a career out of studying refugee issues, said that attempting to use refugee status as a ruse for terrorist activity would be extremely hard to do.
“These people end up in a camp type setting with nothing, in a tent, sometimes for 10 years at a time,” she said. “It’s a pretty tough journey to travel and have that be a false route.”
She also said security screeners rely on skepticism until proven wrong when examining the back stories of potential refugees. Screeners, she said, look at it like this: “OK, you’re here in this chair trying to game the system and gain access to our country under false premises, and we’re going to believe that until you can prove to us that you’re not lying.”
I personally know several people (Iraqis) who’ve immigrated here under the refugee program. The process is not easy, to say the least.
* Press release…
WASHINGTON— Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement after House passage of H.R. 4038, the America Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act, which pauses the Obama Administration’s refugee resettlement program:
“The first and most important Constitutional duty of the federal government is protect the homeland. Last week’s tragic massacre in Paris was a wake-up call. In the days since, ISIS has declared its intention to carry out terrorist attacks on Washington, D.C. and New York City. This bill is simple: pause the refugee resettlement program until the Administration can verify with 100 percent certainty that we know who exactly is entering our country and what their intentions are. The bipartisan vote today proves that this is not a partisan issue—this is a national security issue. President Obama should do the right thing and sign this bill into law to ensure the continued safety of all Americans.”
* I’ve asked Congressman Roskam’s staff how any government can guarantee anything with “100 percent certainty.” You will recall that US Sen. Mark Kirk quickly backed off his demand for “100 percent assurances” yesterday when I pressed the issue.
I’ve also asked Congressman Bob Dold’s staff to explain the same thing regarding his demand for “absolute certainty.” So far, I’ve received only a snarky off the record response. It didn’t please me.
I’ll let you know if either man responds.
*** UPDATE *** From a Congressman Dold aide…
The only thing that’s guaranteed as of now, according the President’s own FBI Director, is that the United States does not currently have the ability to thoroughly vet the backgrounds of people claiming to be Syrian refugees. Today a bipartisan, veto proof majority of the House told the Administration that they need to fix these problems to protect the American people. In the wake of vicious ISIS attacks that have slaughtered hundreds in Paris, Beirut and in the Sinai, the notion that Members of Congress shouldn’t be demanding far better from our government is preposterous.
Move to strike as non-responsive.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* It’s not that I oppose the bill that passed the US House today. I don’t know enough about it either way, and some congressmen in the president’s own party are clearly frustrated with non-cooperation from the White House on this issue.
I don’t even oppose the concept of a temporary pause in Syrian refugees while the program is given a once-over. The allegations by some of playing into the hands of the terrorists just because some folks want to circle back and check the strength of the doors is just way over the top, as is this…
Defying Gov. Bruce Rauner and his chicken-hearted closed border policy for Syrian refugees in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks, Burke and his fellow aldermen sent a loud message that Chicago will not join in the fear-mongering.
The chest thumping on both sides is beyond ridiculous.
* How about we all get back to something that we have some control over, like the budget? Remember that?
A whole lot more Illinoisans are being hurt by that problem than could ever be hurt by a few refugees.