Feds admit: 'We have no outside data' on Syrian refugees
In a blistering cross-examination of officials responsible for the U.S. refugee resettlement program, it was revealed at a Senate hearing Thursday that more than 90 percent of Syrians who apply for refugee status get approved despite very little data being available to check for security risks.
The officials who run the program also either don’t know or refused to say how many refugees have become terrorists once resettled on U.S. soil, nor could they say what percentage of refugees they are able to positively identify before letting them into the country.
Immigration officials responsible for screening refugees made an attempt to show that the process is rigorous and “continuously being improved,” but Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., dismissed the generalities and demanded specific answers during a two-hour hearing before the Senate subcommittee on immigration and the national interest.
The U.S. State Department, which works with the United Nations to send 70,000 to 100,000 refugees per year directly from the Third World into U.S. cities and towns, has long described the screening process as “the most rigorous of all travelers coming into the United States.”
That statement was made again at the opening of Thursday’s hearing.
But Sessions drilled down to specifics as to exactly what the meaning of “rigorous” is.
Testifying was Matthew Emrich, associate director for Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security.
Sessions asked if Emrich’s department had access to even a single database in Syria that could provide solid background records on refugees in order to confirm a refugee is who he says he is.
“Can you name a single computer database outside of maybe some of our own very small but valuable intelligence databases for Syria that you can check against. Does Syria have any?” Sessions asked.
“The government does not, no sir,” Emrich answered.