Generosity to refugees carries risk
A worrying ABC News investigation has revealed that an unknown number of al-Qaida fighters may have been granted admission to the United States as war refugees.
One refugee, Waad Ramadan Alwan, while in Iraq, planted more than a dozen bombs and even used a sniper rifle to kill American soldiers.
He was caught, in 2009, only because of a tip, which led to an investigation that matched his fingerprints to those found on bomb parts. FBI surveillance then caught him not only boasting of those murders, but plotting more.
To add insult to injury, Mr. Alwan lived in public housing and received public assistance checks after quitting a job he held only briefly after his relocation.
ABC reports that many other possible terrorists are being investigated among the tens of thousands of refugees resettled here.
The Department of Homeland Security says they check applicants’ names and fingerprints against a list of known security threats. A DHS statement says, “These checks are vital to advancing the U.S. government’s twin goal of protecting the world’s most vulnerable persons while ensuring U.S. national security and public safety.”
Mr. Alwan passed this process with no problems. We encourage the Department of Homeland Security to realize that they should not have other goals than “ensuring U.S. national security and public safety.” It is not a welfare organization.
We stress that the vast majority of refugees are peaceful and seek only a better life for themselves and their families, but even those who live here quietly can develop problems down the road.
War refugees are much more likely than the general population to have post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and difficulty supporting themselves.
Globally, half of all refugees proposed for resettlement by the United Nations come to the United States, and the majority of those end up in California. This well-intentioned practice needs to be reconsidered.
We must not forget the lesson of alleged Boston marathon bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. They were only small children when allowed into the country as refugees, and yet grew up with a burning desire to punish their adopted country for crimes they believed were committed in other parts of the world.
The Tsarnaevs reportedly survived on public assistance and petty crime, including drug dealing, but we only know this because of the spotlight of the bombing investigation.
The promise of this country is that anyone can work hard and succeed, and their children will have a better life than their parents had.
That is still true, but long-term reliance on welfare can breed resentment and a sense that the country has wronged them and is only paying what is owed. Welfare can also discourage engagement in the economic and social life of their adoptive country. This can lead to isolation, alienation and anger.
We have always been incredibly generous to those seeking to leave chaotic and dangerous countries for the safety of a stable society, but if we also import sectarian violence to the heart of America, we will be doing no service to either the American public or the refugee population. Screening must improve.
— From the Orange County Register
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