Politico.com:

A cascade of Republicans on Monday implored the Obama administration to scrap plans to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees in the United States next year, saying they pose an unacceptable security risk in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

And, in a dramatic twist, the sudden standoff is raising the possibility of a government shutdown next month.

Throughout the day a host of Republican governors around the country, wary that refugees could end up in their home states, blasted President Barack Obama’s plans. But those governors lack real sway over the process, and some are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to insert a provision in the Dec. 11 spending bill that would bar more Syrian settlers.

The politics are moving fast: The Democratic governor of New Hampshire, a Senate candidate, is siding with conservatives, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is reversing his support for a $1 billion spending bill intended to allow in more Syrian refugees after touting the measure just weeks ago. GOP leaders are keeping their options open as they mull whether to try to block new Syrian refugees by adding language to the must-pass spending bill.

Politico continued:

Republicans’ chief concerns stem from reports that at least one of the suspects in Friday’s attacks may have crossed through Greece along with refugees. A Syrian passport discovered near the body of one of the attackers in Paris showed that the holder of the passport passed through Leros, Greece, in early October, according to Reuters. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday afternoon that the Syrian passport was fake, according to French officials.

The Obama administration announced in September that it planned to take in about 10,000 additional Syrian refugees as the crisis in the Middle Eastern nation worsened, and European nations also proposed plans to resettle refugees. Congressional Democrats have proposed letting in as many as 100,000 refugees over time.

Top Republicans are already discussing strategy. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) held conference calls with “several committee chairmen” over the weekend to discuss “providing support to our French and regional allies, as well as identifying steps the Congress can take to keep Americans safe from the threat posed by ISIS,” according to an aide.

Safety vs. humanitarian relief–where do you stand?  Obviously we can’t just open our borders to everyone seeking asylum.  Nor should we turn our back on people in trouble.  Many of these people have been the victims of civil war in Syria for over 5 years.

Are there ways to offer humanitarian relief and still keep our country safe from those who wish us harm?  Sure, but I am not so sure it can happen in a timely fashion.  Where do you house 10,000 people until we are ready?  How do you vet people who have lived the life of refugees?  Will the people remain in this country?  Would all the refugees go to the same basic location?  Would those who gained entrance to the United States be permitted to dress in burqa like attire?

Someone I know offered the suggestion that the western countries quickly build shelters and resorts for the refugees in areas in the middle east.  These refugee areas would be very guarded and would have food, shelter and fresh water.  I asked how the countries where the resorts were being placed would take this “offer.”

It’s a tricky question.  I have very mixed emotions.  I just don’t think we can leave people to die.  That is what will happen if some of these people do not get relief.

As for the government…well…that is blackmail.  19 governors have also told President Obama that they refuse to take in refugees.  (Can they really do that?)

 

34 thoughts on “Another government shutdown?

  1. Wolve

    Contrary to what you may hear from the West Wing, both FBI and DHS officials have admitted that we do not have the data resources to adequately vet these refugees — thousands of refugees. And ISIS has stated clearly that they are going to infiltrate jihadi fighters with the refugee flow. Do not make the mistake of considering such claims as mere chest thumping for PR purposes. The Paris attacks would seem to indicate that they may be fulfilling their promise already.

    The FBI already has, by its own admission, at least 1000 terrorist investigations which they are currently undertaking in the US; and, according to Director Comey, that number is rising. I recently read that the FBI has had to take field agents off of criminal cases and switch them to counter terrorism because of the expanding case load. Imagine, then, the US taking in thousands of new Syrian refugees with minimal vetting at best. Then think back to how those same security services lost the thread on the Boston Marathon bombers, even though we had had warnings about them.

    Take it from someone who once traced, vetted, and tracked terrorist suspects for a living. You do not want to walk into this kind of potential security mess. There has to be a way to help genuine refugees without allowing thousands of the unvetted or minimally vetted to go freely into our vulnerable communities.

    1. What are those ways? I keep hearing, “It isn’t worth the risk.”

      The risk to whom? There are thousands upon thousands of people who have been displaced by these ISIS THUGS. Now there is no relief for them because the thugs infiltrate.

      I have very mixed feelings about this issue. I don’t necessarily feel that just turning refugees lose in the general population is a good plan. Surely being compounded somewhere in sanitary, clean conditions, with heat, shelter, running water, and education for the children is possible in this vast land. Why can’t there be refugee villages? We actually have a lot of “middle of nowhere.”

      We could make refugee villages that are far better than the tent cities some of these folks have been enduring for years. I think this could be possible and the humane thing to do.

      I know my mental plan reeks of “reservation” regardless of what I call it. But it seems to satisfy both conditions and we are a great enough country to be able to accommodate a plan like this. It might be far less expensive to do this in the long run. Nevada, Alaska. Utah all have vast acreage of public land.

      The vetting process could go on if people are requesting political asylum.

  2. Steve Thomas

    @Moon-howler
    “The risk to whom? ”

    If you are asking this question, you clearly do not understand the threat. Risk to whom? Risk to innocent American civilians. Kids in schools. People going about their holiday shopping. A couple enjoying a meal in a sidewalk cafe.

    As I posted previously, we have temporarily taken refugees to places like Gitmo and Anderson AFB Guam. I was part of the camp administration in Guam, when the US evacuated displaced Iraqi Kurds. They were safe, fed, housed, provided medical care, etc. State Dept. staff were on hand to handle those who had a legitimate reason to be granted asylum. The remainder were repatriated. Many of the Kurds who did stay, repatriated during the Iraq war.

    The US did the same thing with the Vietnamese boat refugees in the years following the war, or Cambodians who fled to Thailand. First we took them to tightly controlled facilities, vetted them, found sponsors for them, often churches, and then integrated them into the community.

    But the difference between past waves of refugees, and the current waves is clear: there wasn’t a terror component. There may have been a criminal element in each, as a percentage of any population would have, but terrorism wasn’t something we needed to consider. Now we do.

    So let’s say we do as the President wishes, and let’s say ISIS begins executing terror attacks here in the US. What then?

    1. You misunderstood my question. There is a huge risk to most of the refugees who are also being killed off like flies by ISIS.

      That is the reason they are on the run.

      Re: risk to whom? We are at risk. They are probably more at risk if they aren’t granted asylum.

  3. Steve Thomas

    “19 governors have also told President Obama that they refuse to take in refugees. (Can they really do that?)”

    Why can’t they? They are the elected executives of their respective states, and when last I checked, the 10th Amendment hadn’t been repealed. Could the Feds ignore this refusal and place refugees on military installations or in National Park facilities? Yes, and the states could do little to stop them. The states could only refuse to provide state or local support such as State Police or National Guard resources.

    But I doubt it will get this far. The sates will file lawsuits, requesting an immediate injunction. If recent history is any indicator, the courts will grant a stay. Then it will grind through the court process, in much the same manner as have the Admins other immigration plans. In about a year or two, we’ll have a decision. Who knows what will have happened in the interim. Maybe more attacks on US soil, akin to the Boston bombing. Maybe we are conducting full-scale military ops in Iraq and Syria. Whatever the case, I think it will be the next president’s issue, not the current one.

    1. There as been talk of governors sealing off the state. I think that is ridiculous and I would say the first governor who does that pretty much announces that state’s succession from the Union.

      A private facility could also take in refugees, like a church. I don’t think a governor could do anything about that.

      I also don’t think refugees should be entitled to state aid. Schools–now that’s another matter.

      As I have said, I have mixed emotions about all of this. Heart vs. Head.

    2. Do you think a stay would be granted since the refugees are in the country legally?

      I am convinced that those who want to do us harm will get here, one way or the other. I would come through Canada if I wanted to kill Americans. I wouldn’t wait to slip in with refugees. Someone would be watching the refugees.

  4. Cargosquid

    Most of the refugees are not “refugees.” They are military aged men. One of whom has already gone missing in Louisiana. If terrorist acts happen in the US traced back to a single refugee, Obama should be impeached and any governor that accepts refugees, should be impeached.

    It doesn’t matter if 27 states now reject refugees. If ONE state in the continental US accepts refugees, they will be able to go where they want to, putting all of us in danger.

    1. I don’t think we have taken in any refugees yet.

      You can impeach anyone for anything. A conviction? Don’t think so.

  5. Steve Thomas

    Moon-howler :
    There as been talk of governors sealing off the state. I think that is ridiculous and I would say the first governor who does that pretty much announces that state’s succession from the Union.
    A private facility could also take in refugees, like a church. I don’t think a governor could do anything about that.
    I also don’t think refugees should be entitled to state aid. Schools–now that’s another matter.
    As I have said, I have mixed emotions about all of this. Heart vs. Head.

    I’ve done a bit of research on this; Under the Refugee Act of 1980, a state cannot outright refuse to take refugees as part of a resettlement program. Each state has a federally funded coordinator, and does receive certain funds to off-set the costs to schools, and certain state-managed federal programs like Medicaid or Food Stamps. What they can do is withhold additional support.

    This act was put in place to deal with the continuing waves of SE Asia refugees, and those fleeing the insurgency-related violence in Central America.

    But this is different, to a degree. I am sure that 99% of these people just want to live in a safe place, free to raise their families and live in the community, free from persecution. It is the 1% we need to be mindful of. I am not saying “stop everything, forever”, but in the Paris attacks, the Boston Bombings, etc. demonstrate a clear and present danger. The Administration needs to address these concerns, not dismiss them as “popping off”. The FIRST responsibility of a President is to keep US Citizens safe. So take the people to an area that can be secured and controlled. Feed them, cloth them, give them medical care. Vet them completely. Educate them that any ties to terror organizations will be grounds for immediate deportation. Hold the Sponsoring individuals and groups accountable for there well-being, and to some degree, their conduct. Guam. Hawaii. Alaska. Each has substantial facilities to offer haven to refugees, and will ensure that the wolves are sorted out from the sheep.

    1. I have no problem with that as long as it isn’t imprisonment. Anything is better than tent cities that is safe,, has sanitation facilities, clean drinking water and food.

      I just don’t think we can turn our backs on people in need. by the same token, I think it is reasonable not to give them free rein.
      Maybe I am being outrageous and unreasonable but…I also don’t feel it is unreasonable to expect people to keep their faces visible. Can’t go by our rules, don’t come here.

  6. Steve Thomas

    @Moon-howler

    Moon-howler :
    Do you think a stay would be granted since the refugees are in the country legally?
    I am convinced that those who want to do us harm will get here, one way or the other. I would come through Canada if I wanted to kill Americans. I wouldn’t wait to slip in with refugees. Someone would be watching the refugees.

    An immediate stay? Yes. Courts look at the immediate need to stop, while the legal aspects are sorted out, and has done this before regarding executive orders.

    As far as how a potential terrorist enters the US, they are already here, according to the FBI. But should we make it easier for them? Two of the Paris terrorists entered through Greece. Supporters of the program have cited “6 out of 1 million” are terrorists, but how could they really know? They didn’t catch the two before they helped kill over 100 Parisians. 19 terrorists armed with box-cutters killed almost 3000 Americans. We need to be extra-extra careful with these people, and scrutiny should be close, and continuous.

  7. Starryflights

    The French terrorists were not refugees but French citizens with the ability to pass from Europe to Syria and back. Refugees did not plan and coordinate sophisticated attacks such as these. Refugees lack the wherewithal to do so. To focus resources refugees would not just be against our values but would also be a costly tactical error.

  8. Maximus Meridius

    Huckabee had an interesting comment on this. He asked if you had a five-pound bag of peanuts and knew that only ten peanuts in the bag were deadly poisonous, would you let your child eat any of the peanuts? Obviously not. I don’t usually support these threats of government shutdowns. They are typically based only on squabbles about budget matters that should be worked out in the normal course of business. In this case, however, I am willing to see the government shut down to stop Obama from endangering our country. He is acting completely irresponsibly. His first responsibility is to keep us safe. He cares more about how he is perceived in the Muslim world than our safety.

    A couple of other observations. Our obligations to refugees under international treaties are that we help establish safe camps in their own countries or nearby, and provide food, shelter, medicine, etc., and help maintain basic safety. We have no obligation to bring anyone to the U.S.

    Also, the governors have no way of excluding anyone from their states. Once in the U.S., anyone has free travel within its borders. I don’t think the governors even have the ability to prevent refugees from first arriving in their states from overseas. A strategy that is available to the governors, however, is to use the courts to delay refugees from entering the U.S. Even if they would likely ultimately lose, the governors could request injunctions, which the courts would probably grant. Those would not be resolved until after Obama leaves office and a new president could overturn his actions.

    A word of caution for Democrats. Marine Le Pen, head of the National Party, had already been polling behind, but neck-to-neck with Sarkozy, with current French President Hollande significantly behind both, in the 2017 French Presidential election. Early reports since the Paris attacks have Le Pen now in front. The Paris attacks appear to have added ten to fifteen points to Trump’s poll numbers for the Republican nomination, and is the sort of thing that could push him over the top against Hillary. If Obama gets his way on the Syrian refugees, and we have a Paris-style attack in the U.S. with one or more of the terrorists tied to the refugees, Democrat will not be a viable party in 2016.

  9. Maximus Meridius

    @Starryflights

    Your comments are correct. Genuine refugees do not have the wherewithal to plan and carry out such an attack. That is not the point, however. The concern is that a genuine terrorist embeds himself with the refugees to gain access and entry. That was the case with at least one of the Paris terrorists, as reported by CNN, not Fox.

    Our efforts to help and provide humanitarian aid for the refugees should be taking place in a safe area of Syria, or Turkey, or somewhere in the region. Not in New Orleans, Denver or Manassas.

    1. Is there a safe area of Syria? I think if there were safe areas, the refugees would not have left the vicinity. Many of them traveled great distances.

      I think there are ways to provide humanitarian relief without jeopardizing our citizens.

      I don’t want an open-ended invitation sent out.

  10. Steve Thomas

    @Starryflights

    Starryflights :
    The French terrorists were not refugees but French citizens with the ability to pass from Europe to Syria and back. Refugees did not plan and coordinate sophisticated attacks such as these. Refugees lack the wherewithal to do so. To focus resources refugees would not just be against our values but would also be a costly tactical error.

    Wrong. 2 of the terrorists were confirmed by French authorities to have entered Europe as refugees through Greece.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/619447/Paris-terrorist-Syrian-refugee-Greece-government-official

  11. Maximus Meridius

    @Moon-howler

    There are areas in Syria and Iraq that would lend themselves to establishment of safe camps under the protection of U.S. and other forces, and be out of the way of ongoing fighting. ISIS does not control the majority of the real estate in either country. The refugees would be safe even if not as comfortable as living in Munich or New York. They have no right to demand such accommodation. Under international norms, they have a right to expect and the U.S. and other nations has an obligation to provide, safe living conditions and a basic standard of living including food, shelter and medical care until the conflict dies down or is resolved.

    1. There has been a Syrian civil war going on for more than 5 years. Some of these people have been displaced 5 years. How would you go back in to Syria with all those people without getting directly involved in a civil war?

      Not possible.

      Is Iraq stable enough to house a million new people?

  12. It feels to me like we are blaming the victims. The refugees are the very people who are being hounded by ISIS.

  13. Wolve

    FBI Director Comey tells Congress that many FBI terrorist tracking cases are “going black” — meaning the FBI agents are no longer able to penetrate the communications equipment used by their suspects because of deep encryption. A recent report from US security says that the Paris attackers escaped notice by French counterterrorist monitors because they used encryption provided by a PlayStation device. The FBI wants Congress to loosen up the intercept rules so they can regain this vital tracking advantage.

    The story of America. How to meld liberty and safety.

    1. That is something that Congress should be able to agree on.

  14. Starry flights

    @Wolve A PlayStation device? Seriously? PlayStation devices are not encrypted. The PlayStation rumours have been debunked. Clearly you are not schooled in matters of national security.

  15. Starry flights

    Were Syrian refugees involved in the Paris attacks? What we know and don’t know

    This undated photo released late Sunday by Greece’s migration policy ministry shows a document issued to 25-year old Ahmad Almohammad, holder of a Syrian passport found near a dead assailant in the scene of a Paris attack Friday. The document was issued on Sunday, Oct. 4, by authorities on the Greek island of Leros, where the man arrived a day earlier on a frail boat carrying migrants over from Turkey. (Greek Migration Policy Ministry via AP)
    A key bit of evidence that emerged in the investigation of the Paris terror attacks, which saw at least 129 people killed on Friday, is a supposed Syrian passport found near the body of one of the slain assailants. It bore the name of a Syrian national who apparently transited through Greece in early October. The document seemed to be an important clue in the untangling of the terror plot.

    But more than that, it sparked a larger debate: Could one of the terrorists have been a Syrian refugee?

    The prospect of Islamist infiltration through the current refugee influx in Europe has spooked politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, with a slate of Republican governors and presidential candidates in the United States pointing to the terror attacks as reason to bar entry to all Syrian refugees.

    [3 important facts about how the U.S. resettles Syrian refugees]

    Here’s what we do and don’t know about the rumors of Syrian refugee involvement in the Paris terror attacks.

    THE PASSPORT IS FAKE: Authorities in multiple countries are pretty certain that the passport, found near the body of an unidentified attacker who died during his suicide assault of France’s national soccer stadium, is fake. It carried the name of “Ahmad Almohammad,” a 25-year-old Syrian. French officials have indicated that Almohammad was a loyalist soldier in the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and died a few months ago.

    On Tuesday, Serbian police arrested another man at a refugee camp carrying a passport with the exact same details. It’s not clear at all if he has any connection to the case, other than having used the same shadowy process of obtaining a forged Syrian passport. There is a great deal of precedent for migrants pretending to be Syrians to gain safer passage and sanctuary in Europe.

    Thomas de Maiziere, Germany’s interior minister, suggested on Tuesday that the fake passport found at the bombing site could have been part of an Islamic State attempt to create a “false trail.”

    FINGERPRINTS: The passport, or at least a copy of the passport, was shown to Greek officials by someone carrying it on the island of Leros, where thousands of Syrian refugees and other migrants have made landfall this year. On Oct. 4, the Greek ministry for migration policy issued a document (pictured above) to “Ahmad Almohammad” that would protect him from deportation for the next six months.

    It’s not totally clear whether the fingerprints there match those of the unidentified assailant who was apparently carrying this fake Syrian passport, though a French prosecutor said on Monday that there “similarities” between the prints of the suicide bomber and those found on the Greek document. And if they do indeed match, it still isn’t clear if the man in question was a Syrian national.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/11/17/were-syrian-refugees-involved-in-the-paris-attacks-what-we-know-and-dont-know/

    The evidence that refugees planned and coordinated these attacks is not very strong. Refugees would lack the wherewithal to carry out such a sophisticated attack

  16. Starry flights

    Wolve :
    A recent report from US security says that the Paris attackers escaped notice by French counterterrorist monitors because they used encryption provided by a PlayStation device. The FBI wants Congress to loosen up the intercept rules so they can regain this vital tracking advantage.
    .

    1. The Paris attacks were not, to our current knowledge, planned on a Playstation 4. That rumor seems to have originated with some bad reporting over at Forbes, where gaming contributor Paul Tassi claimed (a) that Belgian officials believed ISIS used PS4s to communicate and that (b) a console was found in this weekend’s raids. In fact, (a) those comments from Belgian officials were made days before the attack happened and (b) officials have released no information about the material gathered in the raids. Forbes has blamed a “reporting error”; said error is, unfortunately, now repeating all over the Web. To be clear, terrorists have used PlayStations to communicate — but there’s zero evidence, at this point, that that’s what happened.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/11/16/everything-the-internet-hoax-machine-tricked-you-into-believing-about-paris/

    PlayStation device, eh? I knew that story was fake from the outset. Clearly some people should refrain from discussing matters of which the know nothing.

  17. Wolve

    @Starry flights

    We are not talking about refugees who are planning and carrying out terrorist attacks. We are talking about terrorists using the refugee stream to infiltrate — which is what they have told us they are going to do. Now, please try to use your head when you attempt to discuss something that is so far above your pay grade.

    No, I am not up on PlayStation or other devices because, unlike you apparently, I do not waste time with such toys. Perhaps the PlayStation report was in error, but Director Comey’s testimony to Congress about the technical “black outs” was not.

    Perhaps you should refrain from getting involved here, as I doubt they introduced this kind of terrorism stuff to the students at Mother Fletcher’s Military School for Wayward Youths.

  18. Wolve

    @Starry flights

    “…To be clear, terrorists have used PlayStations to communicate…”

    Do you even bother to read the material your reprint here?

  19. Starryflights

    Okay, so, refugees carried out the Paris attacks using Playstations 4. Riiiiiiight!

  20. Steve Thomas

    Starryflights :
    Okay, so, refugees carried out the Paris attacks using Playstations 4. Riiiiiiight!

    No, they use the play-station network to communicate under the radar. They use social media, and “dark web” sites, too.

    You really don’t understand this, do you? You do realize that these web-connected devices can be used for other things, don’t you? My guess is you have a flip-phone and think everyone else has one too. Maybe you forgot how Al Qaeda was able to embed coded messages inside innocuous photo images and post these via image-sharing sites, or maybe you weren’t paying attention in the first-place.

    We’ve come a long way from messages written in lemon-juice and your Captain Midnight decoder ring. Better drink your Ovaltine, Starry.

  21. Starry flights

    You’re babbling incoherently @Steve Thomas

  22. Steve Thomas

    @Starry flights
    Says you. You, on the other hand have done nothing except parrot the administration’s talking-points.

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