National Security and
Refugee Resettlement from
"High Risk" Countries

ISSUE BRIEF | AUGUST 2016


By allowing a mass migration of refugees, particularly those from places where religious or political violence is endemic, we open ourselves up to possible threats. Oftentimes we cannot perform proper screening or background checks on these refugees so we aren't able to distinguish legitimate refugees from terrorists.

For instance, two al-Qaeda linked refugees living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, had been admitted for resettlement despite the fact that they had targeted and killed U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And many U.S. intelligence officials, including CIA Chief John Brennan, have noted that terrorists are using refugee flows to infiltrate the West.

Not all people who are fleeing dangerous situations are innocent victims. Many undoubtedly are. But many—especially in places like Syria—are simply on the losing end of bloody ethnic and religious conflicts. They may be fleeing for their lives, but had the outcome of these conflicts been different, they might be committing atrocities and it might be the other guys fleeing. The challenge of our refugee policy is, amid the complete chaos in the sending countries, to be able to sort out the innocents from those who may have ulterior motives.






FAIR Recommends...

In light of recent terrorists attacks and the frank acknowledgements from intelligence officials here and in Europe, FAIR believes that the Obama administration must abandon its plans for massive increases in refugees. If it doesn't, Congress must stop them. Here’s why:

  • ISIS and other terrorists groups have vowed to use the freedom and openness of our society to attack us. We would be fools not to believe them.
  • Even if the vast majority of migrants being resettled are not security threats, the Paris attacks (like others including 9/11) prove it takes only a few people to inflict catastrophic damage.
  • Screening the existing level of refugees is inadequate. Before our nation incurs the extra burden of admitting additional refugees from high risk countries we need to improve current screening and close loopholes that terrorist can exploit.
  • Before the numbers of refugees are increased, our government should provide an analysis on the cost and impact that increase would have on American taxpayers.
  • We must undertake an honest assessment of our assimilation process. Regardless of whose fault it is, the failure to assimilate immigrants and their children into the economic and cultural mainstream can have lethal consequences.