The Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security made public Monday a harrowing fact about refugees taken in by the United States. Coinciding with the signing of a new “travel ban” executive order from President Donald Trump, the agencies revealed that of the 1,000 current FBI terrorism investigations, 300 of them involve foreign refugees.
As part of the travel ban, which affects Sudan, Iran, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, President Trump has ordered a full 120-day pause in the refugee resettlement program until U.S. vetting procedures have been audited and improved. And while the Democrats have argued that refugees pose a very small terror threat, even when they arrive from Islamist-ruled countries, the numbers tell another tale.
“The Attorney General has reported to me that more than 300 persons who entered the United States as refugees are currently the subjects of counterterrorism investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Trump said as he signed the new order.
“Like every nation, the United States has a right to control who enters our country and to keep out those who would do us harm,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a briefing later in the day.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said Trump’s executive order was necessary to make sure terrorists do not infiltrate the refugee system.
“We must undertake a rigorous review of our visa and refugee vetting programs to increase our confidence in the entry decisions we make for visitors and immigrants to the United States,” Kelly said. “We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives.”
Fox News reports that refugees and poorly-vetted visitors to the U.S. have been involved in several Islamic terror attacks in recent years:
Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan rammed his car into a crowd at The Ohio State University in November after posting a message on Facebook warning America not to interfere with Muslim communities. Somali refugee Dahir Adan reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” and asked one victim if they were Muslim during a September rampage in which he stabbed and injured nine people at a Minnesota mall. Seddique Mateen, the father of Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen, is an Afghan refugee. Countless other refugees have been convicted of plotting attacks or planning to join ISIS abroad.
Additionally, San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik and the Boston bombers made it through the vetting process, even though there were troubling indicators in their history.
300 refugees represent a tiny fraction of the total number of refugees living in the United States, but this has never been about making an “all refugees are dangerous” argument. This is about facing reality, getting serious about terrorism, and taking sensible, short-term measures to shore up our national security protocol. If that’s unfair, then our perception of fairness is out of whack.