Wednesday, September 30, 2015

refugees and terrorism

Refugees are in the news. In 2008, I began volunteering and working with local refugees. Although I’ve been in and out of the area since, I’ve stayed in touch with several, primarily from Burmese ethnic groups. The Obama administration agreed to accept large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees, and to increase annual global refugee admittance to 100,000 annually. It’s reasonable to expect more in the Capital District soon.  Is this safe? Is it a good idea? Who’s watching these people? What can we do? .  
A lot of people fear that terrorists might be snuck into our nation as refugees. So, iIs this safe? Will it be likely to bring terrorists and people arriving using false credentials. Will this happen? False credentials, yes, undoubtedly, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either ignorant or lying. Of course, it happens. Find one government aid program that achieves 100% success.  
Refugees are vetted but, as in any program, not with 100% accuracy.    
Is it safe? Not 100%, but I feel fear of Islamic terrorists coming as refugees is overstated. 
I’ve also worked with foreign students and student visa has always seemed an easier way to sneak in terrorists.   (Remember, 16 out of 19 September 11 terrorists were Saudis. There’s over 100,000 Saudi students in this country, many are notoriously lax students. But a lot of money is being made this way so none object.)

And the biggest source of mad bombers, mass shooters, and anthrax mailers are all-American nut jobs who consistently far outnumber foreign terrorists, even if they lack scary accents.

Portions of this were taken from the original draft of a recent Sunday Gazette op-ed piece on refugees