The main immigration director of the United States basically admitted that refugees can enter the country without proper vetting.
In a hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) interrogated Leon Rodriguez, director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, about a memo within the Department of Homeland Security stating that the “refugee program particularly vulnerable of fraud due to loose evidentiary requirements where at times the testimony of an applicant alone is sufficient for approval.”
Based on this information, Cruz asked Rodriguez how they can be sure that the incoming refugees aren’t terrorists.
Rodriguez attempted to weasel his way out of the answer by claiming that the memo is discredited “because it was written by someone who lacked familiarity with the process.” Cruz didn’t buy it, as he kept pinning down Rodriguez with the question “Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?” until Rodriguez finally admitted: “Yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee but it needs to be tested against other information that we know — about the country conditions, at a minimum.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) stepped in to chastise Rodriguez, pointing to FBI director James Comey’s recent testimony of a coming “terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years.”
“We don’t have a system that can stop that from happening,” said Sessions. “I’m uneasy that you’re reluctant to acknowledge the dangers that we have. You’re in charge of it.”
Indeed, it is troubling that DHS is willing to let refugees in based only on testimony, as Comey himself admitted in 2015 that there was no proper way to vet the refugees because of a lack of databases in Syria. It doesn’t help that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is not exactly a friend to the U.S. ISIS themselves have even said that they will exploit the Syrian refugee program to export terrorism into the U.S.
Donald Trump, Jr. landed in hot water for tweeting a metaphor insinuating that you don’t eat from a bowl of Skittles if you know that even a handful of them are poisonous, which is analogous to how the U.S. should treat Syrian refugees–not letting any of them into the country even if a few are terrorists. Given Rodriguez’s admission that “testimony can be the basis” of letting in a refugee, that analogy has proven to be even more valid.