The continuing threat of terror attacks committed by international terrorists in the United States requires meaningful, decisive and effective action that protects America and Americans.
Congressman Raul Labrador, a Republican from Idaho, has introduced legislation that would help address the issue of the lack of integrity to the refugee program. His bill is H.R. 2826 (Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2017) and addresses an area of critical importance, imbuing the refugee program with meaningful integrity to combat fraud in this program.
I am particularly gratified by Congressman Labrador’s efforts. I have repeatedly noted in my appearances before Congressional hearings and elsewhere that the lack of integrity of the immigration system created a national security vulnerability that international terrorists and transnational criminals and fugitives frequently exploited, often with deadly consequences.
I have also noted that the lack of integrity of the immigration system was attributable to the lack of integrity of all too many politicians from both political parties creating “Immigration Failure – By Design.”
These politicians hypocritically claim that “the immigration system is broken” while never providing the resources that would enable DHS to enforce and administer the immigration laws to prevent the entry and embedding of international terrorists and transnational criminals.
However while H.R.2826 would require DHS more carefully vet the applications for refugees and maintain awareness about their activities after they admitted into the United States this level of scrutiny and vigilance must not be limited to refugees but also must be applied to aliens who are granted political asylum.
There are many examples of aliens who, upon being granted political asylum, carried out or attempted to carry out terror attacks in the United States.
One of the most notorious examples of this involves the Tsarnaev brothers who carried out the deadly terror attack at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.
Along with other members of their family they were lawfully admitted into the United States as nonimmigrants from their native Russia.
They subsequently applied for an were granted political asylum when they made a claim of “credible fear” that they could not return to their home country. However, shortly after being granted political asylum they voluntarily flew back to Russia.
Nevertheless, both brothers were granted lawful immigrant status along with other members of their family and one of the brothers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, currently incarcerated and awaiting his execution having been found guilty of his murderous terror attack, became a naturalized United States citizen, ironically on September 11, 2012.
His older brother, Tamerlan, was killed in a shootout with law enforcement officers during the attacks. He had applied for citizenship but that applications was never approved.
The adjudications of applications for lawful immigrant status require thorough background investigations. Under the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act applicants for United States citizenship are supposed to undergo even more stringent “Good Moral Character” investigations.
Clearly this process failed abysmally and resulted in hundreds of casualties and Rep. Labrador’s bill, if enacted, would strip refugees of their refugee status under these circumstances. There is no justification for not expanding this scrutiny to aliens who apply for political asylum. The risks are no less significant.
Additionally, the program that would be created by this legislation also calls for followup monitoring of refugees in the United States. Again, this sort of ongoing security must also be brought to bear where aliens granted political asylum are concerned for the very same reasons and concerns.
For decades international terrorists have entered the United States determined to carry out deadly terror attacks on American soil. In order to gain access to the United States they committed multiple forms of immigration fraud using false aliases, altered or counterfeit passports and making false claims in their applications for visas, for political asylum and when they were interviewed by Immigration or CBP (Customs and Border Protection) inspectors at ports of entry.
In 1993 two such attacks were carried out in the United States.
On January 25, 1993 Mir Aimal Kansi a citizen of Pakistan opened fire with an AK-47 on cars being driven into the parking lot at the CIA Headquarters in Virginia by CIA officials. Reportedly Kansi fired more than 70 rounds, killing two CIA officials and wounding three others.
Kansi had applied for Political asylum.
On February 26, 1993 the first bombing at the World Trade Center killed six innocent victims and injured more than one thousand.
Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the bombing at the World Trade Center, applied for political asylum. He is also the nephew of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind who funded his terrorist activities. He had also planted a bomb on Philippines Airlines Flight 434 that killed one of the passengers and planned to carry out a massive attack that would send 11 airliners to the bottom of the ocean on one day. That plot was known as the “Bojinka Jetliners Bomb Plot” that thankfully was never carried out.
The terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and other that followed, were the result of multiple failures of the immigration system that enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.
The inability of our government to effectively vet refugees seeking entry into the United States was behind President Trump imposition of a temporary restriction that prohibits the admission of certain aliens who are citizens of countries associated with terrorism, specifically Syria, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia.
The media has falsely referred to this as a “Travel Ban” and has insisted on referring to these as “Muslim Majority” countries while ignoring the truth. Citizens of many other countries whose population are “Muslim Majority” are not on that list. The issue is not religion but national security.
Here is the summary of Representative Labrador’s legislation:
Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2017
This bill amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) establish the number of annual refugee admissions at 50,000, (2) authorize the President to submit an adjustment recommendation to Congress for approval based upon humanitarian or national interest concerns, and (3) provide that the President must submit emergency refugee admission recommendations to Congress for approval.
The President shall (currently, may) terminate the refugee status of a person not entitled to such status.
Refugee status is terminated for an individual who applied for such status because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution in the country from which he or she sought refuge on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, but who has returned to such country absent changed conditions.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall, when processing refugee applications from individuals seeking refuge from a “country of particular concern,” grant priority to minority religion applicants whose claims are based on persecution because of their religion.
DHS may conduct recurrent background security checks of an admitted refugee until the refugee adjusts to permanent resident status.
Waiver authorities are limited with respect to refugee inadmissibility and permanent resident status adjustment.
With respect to refugee status adjustment to permanent resident: (1) required U.S. residency is increased to three years; (2) an in-person DHS interview is required; (3) five-year reexaminations are required for a refugee whose status adjustment is refused; and (4) deportability grounds, with an exception for public charge grounds, shall be grounds for refusal of status adjustment.
Resettlement of any refugee may not be provided for in any state or locality in which the governor, chief executive, or legislature has taken action disapproving such resettlement.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) shall complete a refugee processing fraud study.
DHS shall: (1) establish a program to detect the use of fraudulent documents in refugee admissions applications, which shall include placement of fraud detection officers at screening locations; and (2) use digital recording technology to record USCIS refugee interviews.
A person may not be considered a refugee if such person fled from violence in his or her country of nationality if the violence: (1) was not specifically directed at the person; or (2) was specifically directed at the person but not because of that person’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
Prior to U.S. refugee admission, DHS shall ensure that an alien is not a threat to U.S. national security based on a background check that includes a review of the alien’s publicly available Internet interactions, including social media services.
My dad used to tell me that nothing is so bad it could not get worse or so good it could not be made better.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.