WHAT COULD GO WRONG? State seeks to pick up pace on bringing Syrian refugees to US.
The State Department is hoping to bring an average of nearly 1,500 Syrian refugees to the United States per month in order to meet President Obama’s target of settling 10,000 refugees in the country by September.
About 1,300 refugees have already been placed in the United States since Obama first made the commitment in September.
That’s far fewer than those taken in by European countries such as Germany, who has dealt with an unprecedented wave of migrants fleeing Syria’s civil war, as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Yet the settlement has provoked a significant backlash, mostly from Republicans, who argue it puts the U.S. at risk from terrorism.
“It’s clear that ISIS wants to, has planned on attempting to infiltrate refugee populations. This is a problem. If one person gets through who is planning a terrorist attack in our country, that’s a problem,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, who recently returned from a trip to the region, said Thursday.
“The administration — whether it’s Homeland Security or the FBI, cannot tell us that they can adequately screen people. There isn’t really a Syrian to talk to on that end of the equation to vet people, so it is a problem,” Ryan told reporters.
The State Department says it has fallen behind schedule in meting Obama’s goal partly due to a lack of personnel available to interview refugees.
It is now doing a “surge operation” in Amman, Jordan, that is designed to process the rest of the Syrian refugees in as little as three months and leave them enough time to get to the U.S. before September.
With voter registration cards on arrival, no doubt, and buses to the polling places in November.