A few congressmen are fighting to block the planned importation of thousands of Syrian refugees into American cities and towns, arguing that they present a grave security risk because many Syrians have ties to the Sunni rebel groups ISIS and al-Nusra Front.
But the fact is, as President Obama ignores the concerns of U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and others on the House Homeland Security Committee, the Syrians have already started to arrive stateside.
Since January, more than 70 U.S. cities have been on the receiving end of a Syrian visitation.
WND has compiled a complete list of cities (see chart below) that received Syrian refugees since Jan. 1. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres has as many as 11,000 Syrians in a pipeline waiting for admission into the U.S., which is responsible for screening them for criminal and terrorist activity.
And therein lies the problem.
McCaul has tried to block the arrival of the Syrians based on testimony from FBI counter-terrorism experts. As chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he held a hearing on the national security risks of the Syrian refugee program in February and has scheduled a second hearing for June 24. He’s also sent two letters to Obama, urging him not to let the U.N. refugee program become a “jihadist pipeline” into the United States.
The Syrian civil war, now more than four years old, has chased more than 3.8 million Syrians from their homes, according to the U.N., which has about 130,000 it wants to resettle permanently in outside countries.
Some of the top destination points in the past few months have been in Texas, where the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston have each received more than 20 Syrians since January.
Chicago has received 42 Syrians so far this year, more than any other city, while San Diego has taken in 25 and Phoenix 20.
The troubled city of Baltimore has not been left out. It has received 19 Syrians while Louisville, Kentucky, has taken in 21.
“Baltimore is already suffering with all of the black crime violence (in the wake of the Freddie Gray death) and now we’re going to plunk down 19 Syrians,” said Ann Corcoran, who runs the watchdog blog Refugee Resettlement Watch. “It doesn’t make sense.”
WND reported earlier this week that 93 percent of the 922 Syrian refugees resettled into the U.S. since the civil war started in 2011 have been Muslim. The vast majority, 86 percent, have been Sunni Muslims, which means some could have ties to the Sunni rebel groups fighting to bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a Shiite Alowite.
Assad protected the Christian minorities who have now come under brutal attack from ISIS and al-Nusra. Yet, only 4.9 percent of the 922 Syrians brought to the U.S. so far as refugees have been Christians.
Syria is home to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities. It was in Antioch, Syria, where followers of Jesus Christ were first called “Christians,” yet their churches have been destroyed and their families decimated by ISIS and al-Nusra terrorists. Many have watched family members beheaded or shot in front of their eyes.
“Syria represents the single largest convergence of Islamic terrorists in history,” McCaul wrote in his June 11 letter to Obama.
It also represents the largest refugee crisis.
The United States takes in more U.N.-designated refugees than the rest of the world combined. Of the 130,000 Syrians the U.N wants to permanently resettle, the U.S. is being asked to take half, or about 65,000, by the end of Obama’s term in office.
The State Department insists they are “intensely screened” even as the FBI has admitted they are impossible to screen because the U.S. has no “boots on the ground in Syria” and Syria is a “failed state” with no reliable law-enforcement data, said Michael Steinbach, deputy director of the FBI’s counter-terrorism unit, in his Feb. 11 testimony before McCaul’s committee.