President Barack Obama has insisted repeatedly that he can keep terrorists out while welcoming Syrian refugees in. His administration's track record on keeping terrorists out of the country, however, is less than reassuring, particularly considering the number that have made into the country thanks to Obama's lax immigration enforcement and ill-conceived refugee and visa programs.
This is what Obama said in a tweet:
We also win this fight with our values. America can ensure our own security while welcoming refugees desperately seeking safety from ISIL.— President Obama (@POTUS) November 18, 2015
There is a lengthy list of people with ties to terrorists that were allowed to enter the country under the Obama administration—72 in the last year alone. Here are ways in which terrorists have gotten through the immigration system.
The Southern Border Is Wide Open
There are currently over 700 miles on the U.S.-Mexico border that are wide open and anyone can get through. Naturally, terrorists are taking advantage of it. According to Judicial Watch, ISIS has been working with Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers to cross U.S.'s southern border and are operating in El Paso, Texas.
The Clarion Project's Raymond Ibrahim wrote in 2010 that Hezbollah has also gotten through the southern border:
According to a 2010 report, "Close to home: Hezbollah terrorists are plotting right on the U.S. border," which appeared in the NY Daily News:
Mexican authorities have rolled up a Hezbollah network being built in Tijuana, right across the border from Texas and closer to American homes than the terrorist hideouts in the Bekaa Valley are to Israel. Its goal, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper that reported on the investigation: to strike targets in Israel and the West. Over the years, Hezbollah—rich with Iranian oil money and narcocash—has generated revenue by cozying up with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. In this, it has shadowed the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Tehran, which has been forging close ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who in turn supports the narcoterrorist organization FARC, which wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the region.
Another 2010 article appearing in the Washington Times asserts that, "with fresh evidence of Hezbollah activity just south of the border [in Mexico], and numerous reports of Muslims from various countries posing as Mexicans and crossing into the United States from Mexico, our porous southern border is a national security nightmare waiting to happen." This is in keeping with a recent study done by Georgetown University, which revealed that the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Syria, along with Iran, is one of Hezbollah's strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is the immigrants' country of origin.
As long as that large portions of the border remain wide open, terrorists can and will get in. Just as they have been.
The Daily Wire previously reported on examples of terrorists who got through the refugee program over the past 25 years. The New York Post reports on a Syrian community leader in New York City who said that ISIS terrorists are already in terror cells in the country and are waiting for an order to an attack, in part due to the refugee program.
"Third World countries, particularly places like Syria, do not have the network of information the United States has," Aarafat "Ralph" Succar told the Post. "In Syria, there’s no such thing. So when they tell you that [the refugees] are vetted, are you out of your mind?"
Here are some more recent examples of terrorists getting through the refugee program:
There are several documented instances of Somalis who, given safe haven by our country, left America to join and fight with al-Shabaab in Somalia, that lawless and lost land, and even with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Liban Haji Mohamed, a former Somali refugee who later naturalized, is the most recent addition to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, for his activities in support of al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda. One of the Kenya mall attackers was a former refugee who had lived in Minnesota.
Unfortunately, turncoat Somalis are not alone, as refugee communities go. Here are just a few other examples:
- Six Bosnian Muslims from St. Louis, Chicago, and Utica, N.Y., were arrested a few weeks ago for providing material support to ISIS.
- Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, a naturalized former Palestinian refugee, was arrested late last year for concealing her participation in terror bombings in Israel when she applied for citizenship.
- Similarly, former Afghan refugee Hayatullah Dawari got as far as naturalization before his lies caught up with him, his involvement with Islamist terror group Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin was discovered, and the government moved to denaturalize him.
- The two brothers who committed the Boston Marathon attacks were Dagestani-Chechen, and also happy recipients of generous refugee policies, aided by their father’s lies of persecution in pursuit of admission to the U.S., even though he later returned, leaving them behind to commit mass murder.
And they can all get through because, as The Daily Wire has previously reported, there are clear gaps in the vetting process for refugees that terrorists can exploit and no effective way to track them once they enter the country.
Visa Waiver Program
There is serious bipartisan concern over this program in Congress. The visa waiver program essentially allows for minimal screening for people from 38 designated countries to stay in the country for a maximum of 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. The problem is that ISIS affiliates in European countries could easily get a visa waiver.
"I happen to agree that the visa waiver is the easiest because somebody that goes to fight in France, a visa waiver country, comes back to his country and then he decides he wants to come to California," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.), ranking member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told The Washington Post. "So we need to look at that and explore what the options are, and how to make prudent changes that don’t impact our economy dramatically but do offer a significant measure of protection."
Former national deputy chief of the Border Patrol Ronald Colburn echoed Feinstein's sentiments.
"Members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and potentially in the near future, if not already, ISIS, [could come] over on visa waivers from places like Great Britain," Colburn told National Review. "Which on the surface sounds innocuous, but isn’t."
Federation for American Immigration Reform provided a list of terrorists have gotten through under the program:
- Zacaraias Moussaoui, who pled guilty to conspiring the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
- Richard Reid, who tried to blow up an airplane with a bomb in his shoe
- Ahmad Ajaj, who was a part of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing plan, was arrested right when he came into the country only because he had explosives on him. Otherwise, he would have gotten in.
The challenge in reforming or abolishing the program altogether comes from the fact that the business sector loves the program because of the tourism it brings.
Student Visa Program
The student visa program has resulted in thousands of foreign students falling completely off the radar. Watchdog.org reported in 2014 that the Department of Homeland Security completely lost track of 58,000 foreign students, 6,000 of which they believed presented a national security threat.
Most of the 9/11 hijackers were on expired student visas, and since then there have been 26 foreigners on those visas arrested for terrorism.
Here are some recent examples of terrorists in the U.S. that had student visas:
- Adnan Mirza, who had a student visa to attend a Houston community college. He was convicted for funding the Taliban and possessing firearms and ammunition.
- Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, who was sentenced to life in prison for planning to use a weapon of mass destruction.
- Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis, who was plead guilty for planning a terrorist attack against a Federal Reserve bank in Manhattan.
The fact that DHS has completely lost track of all those students is very scary indeed.
The B-2 Tourist Visa is for non-immigrants to temporarily to stay in the U.S. for vacation or medical reasons. This visa has been abused by terrorists, which isn't surprising since 40 percent of illegals in the country overstayed their visas. Here are a couple of recent examples of terrorists that got through on the tourism visa:
- Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian, plead guilty for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction after trying to detonate a bomb truck in Dallas, Tx.
- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber, got into the U.S. on a tourist visa.
The H-2B visa is a temporary worker program. This too has been abused by terrorists, with one example being Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani who transferred from a student visa to an H-2B visa for six years before gaining permanent residence by marrying a U.S. citizen.
The "Hands-Off" List
Judicial Watch reported in 2014 that internal DHS documents show that the Obama administration appears to have a "hands-off" list of people with ties to terrorist groups that are allowed in the country. This list came to light in an email exchange between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection over whether or not a Muslim Brotherhood member with ties to Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad would be allowed in the country. The person had sued CBP twice for supposedly violating the "hands-off" policy and his records have been removed. He gained entry into the country.
Because of lax immigration enforcement, there are unfortunately many ways for terrorists to get into the country, and there are almost certainly some already in the country as a result. So sorry, President Obama, if we have a hard time believing you can "ensure our own security."