Tavares, FL Nov. 19, 2015
Federal managers talked in vague generalities (again as in earlier hearings), and then the House voted along party lines to approve HR-4038 which set tougher vetting restrictions for approving Syrian AND Iraqi Refugees. In my view, the approval requirements are so tough that few will be admitted.
One fact from the hearing is that there are 19-million potential worldwide refugees, and 1/4th of them are Syrians. One Representative said why is limiting Syrian entries a problem when you have 75% not from Syria who you can choose from? Good question.
I am not clear if this bill has to go to the Senate, or it is a funding resolution only without need to go further. Obama later said he would veto the bill.
Here are links to the hearing video https://youtu.be/EQPMJUQjybk?t=11m25s
and the bill, HR-4038: https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4038/text
Below my card are my rough notes on the two hour hearing led by Rep. Trey Gowdy.
Again, as in prior hearings, Federal leaders talk in vague generalities and THEY DON’T TRACK if admitted refugees commit crimes after arriving.
They also used carefully worded vague statements to indicate some work, but not specifically.
My rough notes on today’s hearing led by Trey Gowdy
Note: missed first 10 minutes but the video link above has the complete hearing.
Note: Like prior hearings, House members drift in and out, so some have facts, and others (mostly Dems) talk in generalities.
Next: The Federal bureaucrats on the “witness” panel talk in vague generalities which I would not accept if I was questioning them.
House Subcommittee on immigration and Border Security hearing on CSPAN - Nov. 19, 2015 - 9am to 11:05 pm
"The Syrian Refugee Crisis and its impact on the security of the UD Refugee Admissions Program"
HR4038 - Requires stronger vetting and leader approvals of Syrian and Iraqi refugees
http://www.c-span.org/video/?400980-1/us-house-debate-syrian-refugees << CSPAN page on hearing
https://youtu.be/EQPMJUQjybk?t=11m25s <<< Full video of House hearing - 2 hrs, 5 min
This bill, HR-4038, was approved just after this hearing - mostly Republicans for it, and Dems against. at 11:10 Nov. 19, 2015 Later, Obama said he would veto it.
Chair is Rep. Trey Gowdy (SC-R)
Witnesses on Panel
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, United States Department of State
Richard Statement House Judiciary 11 19 15.pdf (167.4 KBs)
International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation
Center for Immigration Studies
President and Chief Executive Officer
- Honorable Leon Rodriguez <<<< This guy shows up at many of the hearings and is all vague and general. No statistics or data.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
USCIS Rodriguez Testimony.pdf (127.7 KBs)
I missed the first 10 minutes, so look at the video - vj
Leads off with Rodriguez mumbo jumbo and generic statements but NO ACTUAL statistics on screening results
Seth Jones - RAND Corp.
Consultant is terrorist specialist
Bombings have halted advance of ISIS
Uses term Daesh rather than Islamic terrorists or ISIS (Obama uses Daesh or ISIL to avoid saying “Islamic” )
Makes supportive statements about immigrants
Threat historically of refugees is small.
These hearings are fixed because no refugee opponent is in the panel, such as Pam Geller, Brigitte Gabriel or Ann Corcoran.
9:20 - Krikorian - Center for Immigration Studies ****** This guy is a skeptic!!! Watch his video
Proper screening for people from Syrian can be done.
No source of info to use for investigations
Fingerprints of attackers in France sent to FBI and none of them were in the FBI databases
It costs 12x as much to support a refugee in home country vs US
5 year cost is $64,000 in US vs $5300 per year in own country (UN estimate)
Only way is to reduce risk of Syrian terrorists number we resettle
9:23 Hetfield - HIAS - Oldest Hebrew refugee org - These guys profit from bringing in refugees and it is apparent he is defending open acceptance of refugees
HIAS (which used to stand for Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is an American charitable organization originally founded in response to the late 19th- and early 20th-century exodus of Jewish emigrants from Imperial Russia.
Great problem is officials shifting funds from fighting terrorists vs admitting refugees.
He is scolding legislators and governors who said they don't want refugees from Syria
Security protocols are stronger than I have ever seen
He does not want a certification process.
Rep Conyers (MI-D) - was late, and slow talker
9:35 - Trey Gowdy
He challenges Obama on where to start and Obama's statements
Defeat that JV Team you thought you had contained.
9:41 - Rep Lofgren - apparently a liberal
We have an ocean between us and the middle east.
Let's put this in perspective. Would a terrorist go thru the formal admission process.
Most of French terrorists had European passports - could have come to US
Liberal viewpoint of "believe terrorists won't go thru the refugee process" rather than fix lack of vetting.
Tight shots so you can't see how many are there, which Reps are missing, etc.
Rep Gooclatte??? Against accepting Syrians
12% of 85,000 will be from countries with little security info
Are checks enough. Can they ensure no terrorists
Jeh - "Committed to doing the best we can..."
Booming forged id document industry providing fake Syrian passports, etc.
Rep Labrador - Idaho - proponent of refugee program, but a critic of Syrian vetting process
Direct statements - comes off like Alan Grayson
MS Richards - do you think current vetting system is appropriate
Richards - toughest one
Labrador - Is sufficient
Insulted Richards - I am concerned of security of people in Idaho.
Asked Rodriquez how questions are derived
- Determined on case by case
- Can be 1-2 hours - takes as long as needs to take.
Q- If security data is not update what is future of refugee systems?
Ans - Jones
Rep Lofgren - do we crowdsource info?
Rodriguez - Vague generalities again "Great question"
What is done different for interview officeers to train them
- Rod - 8 day intensive briefings plus earlier briefings to steep them in environment they are going to
- Once in field - have 10 day mentoring, shadowing period
10:03 - Rep Chocolatte ??
If the process is so good, why have 5m come into US illegally
Rodriguez - for Syrians, can't interview neighbors, etc - so why is your process so effective?
If database has no info, querying the db is not effective.
"There have been denials" but NO specific percents, counts, effectiveness stats - Rodriguez only answers in generic terms.
Q - Why not delay this until vetting can be upgraded.
Ans - This is the most intensive process that has resulted in denials (again, no specific counts)
Q of Krikorian: Limit to how effecting the process can be.
I am sure they smoke out liars and cheaters.
More than 90% of Syrian applicants are being approved, while worldwide avg is 80%
How valid is process wihen 90% are approved.
Rep Lofgren - Added 37 statements for the record from supporters of refugee programs
Rep Conyers - he seems senile.
Asked Hetfield - difference between EU process and US.
- Arrivals are not vetted first, while US vets them , than one year monitoring
Risk of admitting terrorists is very very low.
HR bill adds certification process that would cripple approvals.
- Would require 3 top officials to approve each person which will slow it down
Conyers - Hefield represents Jewish group, so how do they fieel safety is there.
Hefield - Islamophobia, Xenophobia will drive wedge between Muslims and others.
Q: Why is our war with ISIS not as big a concern
Hetfield - No terrorists in his right mind would use refugee program to enter US
Richard: People are referred by UNHCR who know type of people we want - rattled off emotional descriptions
"We have screened out anyone where we have questions"
"Proof is success of programs in communities all over the US" (what about MN Somali violence, Maine, etc overwhelmed)
Again, no specifics, only generalities on denials.
Rep Smith: (not there earlier?) - Grilled the panel
I don't get why President would veto a bill to protect the population.
1700 brought in. "As far as I know, none" We don't track them.
Rely on law enforcement agencies to tell us about crimes.
Will you stop tracking 10,000 Syrians after 3 months.
After one year, become a permanent resident and not tracked.
Syrians not treated differently than others.
- Syrians left their country and voted with their feet. They know what has happened since they left Syria.
She is less worried about Syrians.
She is defending Obama's support of Syrians.
No mention of Islamic practice of Taqiyya to lie to non-believers
Fed government has right to resettle anywhere in US
Reality is local support
10:24 - Votes due in 15 minutes
Rep Jackson Lee (D?)- just arrived - very intelligent
Diagram of USCIS process into record
23,000 referred by UN, 7000 interviewed, 2000 accepted - process is 18-24 months
Includes people who have fled and are in camps.
Of ones entered into US, 2% are unwed single men
HR bill has had no hearings
Does Rodriguez read the bill that 3 leaders must certify every applicant
She is trying to bring up applicant certify
HR4038 does not add anything to process they use.
Lee - As I read this, every person, even 5-year olds, must be individually certified by 3 leaders.
Rep King from Iowa
Q to Rodriguez - Religion is not basis for screening out.
Only ask religion if that is basis for persecution.
King has just been in middle east.
Asked in Turkey to talk to persecurted Christians
Christians are taken in to homes, and mostly Muslims are in camps.
Q - Can he described a suicidal terrorist that was not a Muslim.
Q - Rodriguez - "We do our job" Vague again.
He doesn't specifically ask about religions.
"We are operating on wrong premise"
Yet - How nearly 70 arrested in US including refugees planning terrorism.
Some were radicalized. Huge haystack are needles of terrorists.
We cannot stick our heads in the sand
Rep Gutierrez IL - just arrived?
Lashing out at Republicans and opportunism
Unspecific emotional stories
Hatred and bigotry calls
Mostly doing a rambling pitch to support unvetted refugee admissions
No questions or facts - probably because he missed most of meeting.
Rep Buck - CO
Was DA in Greeley CO
Had 1500 to 2000 Somali refugees and most were Muslim
How many potential refugees around the world
Rodriquez - 19 million eligible
We allow a target for this FY is 85,000
Why would adminstration object to deferral of Syrians when so many others are out ther.
1/4 of 19m are in Syria.
Why are we so interested in taking Syrians
Situation of Syria is desperate.
My point is there are plenty of other people that could be vetted.
Q - Is Rod surprised that Americans are fearfull of Syrian refugees
Rod - not surprised, but also pitched that many Americans support refugees
Rep. Trott (MI) (not there earlier?)
Q: What should I tell my constituents
Rod: "This is most rigorous screening process.
Vague statements again with pitch supporting refugee
It is a robust process...
"Process as it exists is a robust ..."
Rep. Ratcliffe - TX - not there earlier
Had online townhall 8000 online
Not one single question about Obamacare.
Had 300-400 questions about Syrian refugee program.
TX has received largest % of all refugees - 10% of all inbound.
8 Syrians caught in Laredo TX but not in news (commenter)
Richard - had phone call with Governors
Rep Trey Gowdy - questions for last
Panelists must weight risk - flying in airplane vs Bungee jumping
No one has said there is no risk
Need to balance risk vs potential of getting it wrong.
Have any Refugee vetting failed in past.
Krikorian: Yes, many times.
Uzbek refugee assisted terrorists
Two Iraqis fingerprints on IED's
Critics will say no on convicted in US - dead terrorists not around to convict
Richard - have been a handfull of threats out of 3-million brought in to US
- Our program does as much as humanely possible
Trey - I hate waste fraud abuse, deception so much
Contractors need to talk to eveyrone in community and not ignore them, like Sherrif, etc. even opponents
Richards need to layout every single step
Ended at 11:05