The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest held a hearing yesterday to discuss Pres. Obama’s plan to increase the number of refugees to 110,000 next year, despite security risks that the vetting process presents. In the hearing Obama administration officials admitted that asylum seekers were granted refugee status in the U.S. solely on their own testimony and that refugees have been caught committing terrorism offenses in the U.S.
Pres. Obama reduced the refugee processing time from 18-24 months to just three months in order to reach his goal of bringing in 85,000 refugees in FY16 an increase from the annual admission of 70,000 refugees. Starting next month Pres. Obama said he would continue to increase the number of refugees admitted to 110,000 in FY17.
Last year FBI Director, James Comey, expressed concern that the U.S. does not have the ability to thoroughly screen the Syrian refugees for terrorist ties even through the lengthy 18-24-month process.
During the hearing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) asked DHS Director León Rodríguez, “Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?” Rodríguez replied, “there are cases where the testimony is not necessarily corroborated by documents…I am acknowledging that, yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee…”
In his opening statement Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and The National Interest, noted that there are over 10,000 open terror investigations with at least one investigation opened in every state and that according to FBI Director, James Comey, it takes about 30 agents a week to monitor one terrorism suspect.
Sen. Sessions warned that, “the Director of National Intelligence, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Secretary of Homeland Security have acknowledged that terrorists could infiltrate the refugee population. Their concerns are valid, as it is clear that terrorists have done so successfully in the past.”
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) cited that fact that 18% of ISIS prosecutions in the U.S. have been of refugees or asylum seekers. Director Rodríguez confirmed that refugees have been caught committing terrorist activity in the U.S.
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Updated: Wed, Nov 2nd 2016 @ 9:05am EDT