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*** UPDATED x1 - Dold “responds” *** Some stats and facts to keep in mind, and some hyperbole to avoid

Thursday, Nov 19, 2015

* Sun-Times

[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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

49 Comments
  1. - Anonin' - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:29 pm:

    Shall we be the first to ask the SuperStars and the like minded Congressgoons if they plan to send the ISP to round up the 131 Syrians who have been here since July and engaging in acts too numerous to count.
    How about we get back to what does a SuperStar do in Vegas with “no public events”?


  2. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:33 pm:

    If ISIS can infiltrate operatives as refugees why can’t they infiltrate operatives as tourists? Or as college students?


  3. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    == A whole lot more Illinoisans are being hurt by that problem than could ever be hurt by a few refugees. ==

    And *THIS* is precisely why the political types (on both sides) want to talk about ISIS.


  4. - illini - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:41 pm:

    Anonin’ - I hope that was intended as snark! Sometimes I miss the snark and the think people actually believe what they post.

    Did everyone go to the link Rich posted earlier today? Excellent information to cut through all the hysteria surrounding this issue.


  5. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    Hamlet’s - emotions are running high on both sides. I’ve got divergent groups of friends on Facebook telling me how I should feel about the situation. Oh - and on this site, too.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:44 pm:

    Is “wake-up call” a new drinking game?

    How was Paris a “wake-up call?” Have we not been at war for in the Middle East and Central Asia for the past 14 years?

    Or, is it that since just a relatively small number of volunteers have done all the fighting and dying, and it’s been paid for with a credit card, it’s easy to forget that?

    It’s absolute lunacy to think that you can be at war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, plus regularly drop bombs out of the sky in Pakistan, overthrow the government by bombing Libya, and occasionally call in drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia, and insist on “100% certainty” that no one is going to try to smack you.

    It’s 100% lunacy to have that expectation in peacetime. Any child can understand that.

    But three detainments out of 800,000 refugees in 14 years would seem to indicate a fairly tight vetting process.

    This Syrian refugee game is the Trumpization of the GOP. It’s not about public safety; they see his poll numbers for demonizing Hispanics and his deportation “plan” and they want a piece of the action.

    Syria is in the news, so in the barrel Syrian refugees go.


  7. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    As understanding of current practices grows, the foolishness of hyper-reacting to the risk associated with refugees coming to the US is one of the biggest errors in judgment the GOP has made. Reasonable and intelligent people should be stepping back from this huge overreaction and preserve their credibility.


  8. - illini - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:49 pm:

    Wordslinger - Well stated, but you and I are probably in the minority.


  9. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:50 pm:

    ===The chest thumping on both sides is beyond ridiculous.===

    I respectfully disagree. Are there goof balls on both side of this (and most other issues) that go over-the-top with the rhetoric? Yes.

    But one side chose to take a non-controversial program, one that’s been in place for decades, one that exemplifies what is exceptional about the United States, one which has numerous well-known safe guards in place, and that side has used it to exploit fear for political purposes.

    There was no need for any governor to speak up, much less our own. I dare say, had Governor Rauner not taken the public stand that he did, we’d have been spared this debate in Capitol Fax this week.

    I’m sorry. The “both sides do it” excuse is weak and, in this case, false. Only one side chose to demagogue on the issue of Syrian refugees. There is no equivalence.


  10. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    Peter Roskam -
    Didn’t the massive fumble at the Benghazi hearings teach you anything? Or are contributors driving you to make yourself look foolish?


  11. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:56 pm:

    It’s important enough to get it
    Say It!as right as we can. Everyday, someone is born in this country with the capacity to do evil. We should be on “very high alert” to ensure to our greatest capability that no “weapon-ready” creeps get in. At the same time, our nation does have a two century old mission statement that says “all people with rightful intent” are invited.

    We don’t have to choose. A short pause is warranted to get it right and please both perspectives.


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:57 pm:

    ===“both sides do it” excuse is weak and, in this case, false===

    Yeah, OK.

    Didja forget your deleted comment?

    Take a breath.


  13. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:57 pm:

    After 9-11 you would hear the term “We will make America Safe Again”, and phrases or that effect. Not then, not now, not ever will we make America SAFE. We can take common sense sense steps to make ourselves Safer, but never safe. Cheap blather by exploitive, opportunistic pols use tragic events to promote themselves and divert attention from more insidious problems they’ve been unable/unwilling to tackle


  14. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 2:57 pm:

    Peter Roskam has never cloaked himself in glory with regard to refugees from that part of the globe, e.g. http://pages.citebite.com/f4w7d5p2u7iyg (This American Life transcript)

    – MrJM


  15. - Anonin' - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:12 pm:

    Makes you wanna bring back Boehner — a little…maybe?


  16. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:14 pm:

    People are still coping with the effects of a tragedy. There are widows, widowers, orphans, people who have lost friends and family members. A little time to get it right isn’t too much to ask. Platitudes on all sides are silly. This is tough on everyone involved. Take a breath is right!


  17. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:19 pm:

    ===Didja forget your deleted comment?===

    Which one? Lol.


  18. - Roamin' Numeral - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:20 pm:

    Did everyone see how Indiana wouldn’t allow that Syrian family to be settled in Indianapolis, so they’ll be settled in Connecticut instead? Thank you, Governor Dannel Malloy, for doing the right thing and helping that family.

    Gov. Mike Pence, you aren’t doing yourself any favors with this situation. History will look upon you unfavorably. And I sincerely hope neither you nor any of your family members ever need a helping hand due to an impossible situation they had absolutely no control over.


  19. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:26 pm:

    – People are still coping with the effects of a tragedy. There are widows, widowers, orphans, people who have lost friends and family members…–

    You make a good case for the Syrian refugees.

    Who else could you be talking about in this context?


  20. - Any Mouse - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:29 pm:

    Let’s remember that the US receives about 70 million foreign visitors each year. http://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2015-I-001/index.html

    If you are intent on doing us harm, going through a 2-year refugee asylum process seems like poor time management.

    I get that the Paris attacks represent a real risk and one that is tough to mitigate. But why do we always focus on tangential trivia?


  21. - Young State Worker - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:37 pm:

    Good grief, “A guy.” There are widows, widowers, orphans, people who have lost friends and family members *among the refugees*. Caring for U.S. citizens is not mutually exclusive with continuing to admit refugees. If you were really against platitudes you wouldn’t say “a little time to get it right isn’t too much to ask.”


  22. - Young State Worker - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:42 pm:

    Ah Wordslinger beat me to it and said it better of course. Thanks for your consistent incisiveness, Wordslinger.


  23. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    I have 100 percent certainty that Rep. Roskam is pandering.


  24. - GraduatedCollegeStudent - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:51 pm:

    ===Let’s remember that the US receives about 70 million foreign visitors each year. http://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2015-I-001/index.html

    If you are intent on doing us harm, going through a 2-year refugee asylum process seems like poor time management.

    I get that the Paris attacks represent a real risk and one that is tough to mitigate. But why do we always focus on tangential trivia? ===

    Especially since most, if not all of the attackers were EU nationals.

    Oops.


  25. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==You make a good case for the Syrian refugees. Who else could you be talking about in this context?==

    Checkmate by Slinger…


  26. - Cubs in '16 - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:03 pm:

    HB 4038 passed 289-137 with 48 Dems breaking ranks. Who are those Dems pandering to?


  27. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:04 pm:

    ===Who else could you be talking about in this context?====

    Hundreds of Parisians…or did you miss that part of the story. Because of very good work, thousands were spared at a sports stadium. Little foresight helped out there.


  28. - A guy - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:09 pm:

    Abe, Does checkmate indicate that Sling has occupied your mind for you?

    Are you so confident that our immigration policies for refugees is so tight that there’s no improvement to be made? My position is to be exceedingly careful, not disallow any resettlement. If you think this is so easy, you’re not much of a thinker. But then, if a dude agrees with you it’s a “checkmate”. Quaint and inane simultaneously. Nice piece of work there.


  29. - walker - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:18 pm:

    I am with 47th 100 percent.

    That’s why I’m holding my fire directed at individuals on this one.


  30. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:18 pm:

    48 Dems breaking rants is pretty high - over 25% of that caucus’s total numbers.


  31. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    Guy, do I understand you correctly that the United States should stop accepting Syrian refugees right now because the people of Paris are still dealing with the effects of mass murder there by native-born French and Belgian citizens?

    I never thought of it that way.


  32. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:28 pm:

    Rep. Dold, since 2001, 800,000 refugees, with three being detained, no convictions for anything.

    That process obviously needs tightening up.


  33. - ZC - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:39 pm:

    >> 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.

    Rep. Bob Dold does know that these countries are all not part of the United States, overseas, and thus do not actually indicate a “worse” in our current screening procedures … right?


  34. - pundent - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:40 pm:

    A guy - If your suggestion is that a “short pause” will make us safer then lets consider this benefit of this in the larger context. There are far easier ways for a terrorist to gain entry into the U.S. then by way of the refugee process. So if the goal is to focus on the individuals who pose the most prevalent threats, we should ban any and all travel to the U.S. until we can “get it right”. I’m not at all advocating that, I’m simply following your logic which suggests that this is not politically motivated and only being done out of an abundance of caution.


  35. - @MisterJayEm - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 4:59 pm:

    After multiple “tragic massacres” as “wakeup calls” when do we “pause” all domestic firearms sales “until we get it right”?

    I’ll take my answer off the air…

    – MrJM


  36. - Wensicia - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:15 pm:

    This is why I can’t vote Republican in the 10th district. Why do Republicans specifically target Syrians and none other? Assad and ISIS didn’t manage to kill the ones who got away, so assume they’re terrorists? Disgusting.


  37. - Wensicia - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:19 pm:

    ==After multiple “tragic massacres” as “wakeup calls” when do we “pause” all domestic firearms sales “until we get it right”?==

    Perfect.


  38. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:41 pm:

    Both sides are ridiculous.
    But panicked people should be listened to first in order to calm them down later.


  39. - illini - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:42 pm:

    MrJM - exactly correct, but should we hold our breath and wait for this to happen or will we continue to listen to the pandering xenophobes trying to change the focus while trying to score votes for their reelection?


  40. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:51 pm:

    Opportunistic politicians are playing into fears.
    I see signs of xenophobia in Chicago where some neighborhoods have seen a significant increase in the number of Muslim residents. Those who choose to dress in clothing in keeping with their religious customs stand out in public places and are quite noticeable. Several Chicago Public Schools are adding annexes and additions to house the new students who are largely Muslim. For many years, the 50th Ward was represented by Alderman Bernard Stone and the neighborhood had a definite Jewish identity. Jewish voters still elect most of the office holders in the area, but the population and demographics are shifting dramatically.

    If you live South of I-80 the arrival of new immigrants probably does not register with you, but in Chicago and Cook County, it is a definite trend.


  41. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 5:56 pm:

    You can’t expect to be taken seriously if you don’t take other’s opinions seriously. No one likes a wise guy know it all who dismisses everyone’s concerns except the wise guy know it all.

    Public officials lose when they dismiss the public.


  42. - JackD - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 6:05 pm:

    Vanilla Man: when, if ever, having listened, is one allowed to respond?


  43. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 7:01 pm:

    As a Chicago resident, I’m fine with Syrian refugees settling here and being my neighbors. Not in the least bit afraid.

    Three out of 800,000. Ha! That’s 0.0000037% of refugees. I’ll gladly take my chances.


  44. - Illinoian - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 7:12 pm:

    What a disgusting embarrassment. So much for being a “Christian Nation”.


  45. - yup, that makes a lot of sense. - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 7:17 pm:

    A “pause” offers the citizenry comfort and mitigates the risk reactionary extremism settling into the american psyche. If you don’t want President Trump, then allow some of the preverbial steam out. Mindless liberal ideologues are playing into Trump’s strong suit (almost a pun). http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2015/11/liberals-should-knock-mockery-over-calls-limit-syrian-refugees


  46. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 7:48 pm:

    France has reaffirmed their intention to allow 30,000 refugees to come in. Don’t remember ever thinking that the French government had it over on our own, but times have changed I guess. Do believe they’ve handled this situation extremely well. Seem like they are the adults these days…


  47. - Chicago PR Guy - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 8:36 pm:

    A Syrian refugee family moved into our north shore Chicago suburb over the summer. They have engaged in untold questionable acts. Namely, all of them speak perfect English without accents. And the two boys are two of the best soccer players in the league and excellent students. Needless to say, we’re watching them closely.


  48. - Huh? - Thursday, Nov 19, 15 @ 9:03 pm:

    “A Syrian refugee family moved into our north shore Chicago suburb … They have engaged in untold questionable acts. Namely, all of them speak perfect English without accents. And the two boys are two of the best soccer players in the league and excellent students.”

    We need more like this. I hope you are watching closely as the kids dance around the field playing soccer.

    I wish I had the money to sponsor a Syrian refugee family.


  49. - X-prof - Friday, Nov 20, 15 @ 2:42 am:

    We’re far more likely to get shot by some unhinged citizen with a gun than to be harmed by a terrorist posing as a refugee from Syria. What say we suspend the second amendment until the powers that be can give us 100% assurance that some nut won’t walk into the local elementary school and terrorize the kids with a gun?

    What’s that you say? We can’t suspend the US constitution? I guess you’re right. But it seems a bunch of governors disagree as they jump to usurp federal powers by closing their state’s borders. Too many members of congress think we should shred the equal protection clause.

    Dum de dum dum - dumb.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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