Arnold Ahlert / Oct. 5, 2015

Importing Terrorists

Obama has granted asylum to 1,519 foreigners involved in terrorism.

Apparently, the Obama administration’s determination to promote amnesty, maintain open borders and sanctuary cities, release thousands of criminal immigrants onto American streets, and enhance the Islamic State’s recruiting ability by letting them run wild in the Middle East were insufficient efforts to undermine national security.

In a move best described as unconscionable, the administration granted asylum in the U.S. to 1,519 previously inadmissible foreigners involved in terrorism — because their crimes were ostensibly committed “while under duress.”

Even worse, the administration had to “tweak” the law to do so. In February 2014, an “Exercise of Authority” enacted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the State Department amended the parts of the Immigration and Nationality Act that had taken a zero-tolerance approach towards asylum seekers involved in any material support for terrorism. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry provided exemptions for “an alien who provided limited material support” to terrorist entities.

“These exemptions cover five kinds of limited material support that have adversely and unfairly affected refugees and asylum seekers with no tangible connection to terrorism: material support that was insignificant in amount or provided incidentally in the course of everyday social, commercial, family or humanitarian interactions, or under significant pressure,” a DHS official explained to The Daily Caller at the time. “In addition to rigorous background vetting, including checks coordinated across several government agencies, these exemptions will only be applied on a case-by-case basis after careful review and all security checks have cleared,” the official added. “This exemption process is 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.”

Who determines those criteria? Judicial Watch obtained the breakdown from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) annual report to Congress. Of the 1,519 admitted, 627 were processed despite an applicant’s provision of material support to an undesignated terrorist organization, nine despite an applicant’s receipt of military-type training from a terrorist organization, 28 despite providing voluntary medical care to members of a terrorist organization in the course of their professional responsibilities without assisting in the violent activities of an organization or individual, and 37 despite providing material support to, soliciting funds for, soliciting individuals for membership in or receiving military-type training from certain qualified Tier III terrorist organizations.

All of these applicants were determined to be “under duress” when they supported terror, along with an additional 189 processed simply for being under duress with no other criteria mentioned. And finally, another 628 were processed because their activities or affiliations with specific groups were simply “approved for consideration of an exemption” by the secretary of homeland security, in consultation with the secretary of state and the attorney general.

What about the idea that all of these people would be carefully vetted? During the border surge that also occurred in 2014, during which the Obama administration admitted thousands of illegal aliens and deliberately dispersed them throughout the nation, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines preventing the admission of unvaccinated people and those with other inadmissible criteria were conspicuously ignored.

In other words, Rule of Law applies only when it aligns with Obama administration agendas.

Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) director Jessica Vaughan addressed that specific issue. “[T]here is a very legitimate question as to whether the administration actually has the authority to change the law in this way,” Vaughan wrote in an email to the Caller while the asylum modifications were being made. “It seems to me that they are announcing that they will be disregarding yet another law written by Congress that they don’t like and are replacing it with their own guidelines, which in this case appear to be extremely broad and vague, and which are sure to be exploited by those seeking to game our generous refugee admissions program.”

And no one is helping them game the system more than the Obama administration itself, with the president recently announcing America would absorb an additional 10,000 Syrian “refugees” next year, with a target of accepting 100,000 worldwide refugees per year by 2017, according to John Kerry, who declared last month, “This step … is in keeping with the best tradition of America as a land of second chances and a beacon of hope.”

A beacon of progressive stupidity is more like it, and one that stands in stark contrast to the 100,000 empty, air-conditioned tents in Saudi Arabia capable of housing as many as three million refugees — were it not for the reality the Saudis have refused to take any asylum-seekers.

Judicial Watch reaches an inexorable conclusion: “The administration seems to have a soft spot for terrorists.”

It’s worse than that. Fifteen of 27 Christian refugees from Iraq who have been held at a detention center in Otay Mesa, California, for approximately six months will be deported, despite having support that includes U.S. citizen family members vouching for them in a San Diego-based Iraqi Christian community. The same administration that plays fast and loose with the law whenever it chooses has determined that only people “persecuted by their government” qualify as refugees. By that “logic,” Christians fleeing the Islamic State killing fields in Iraq are ineligible for asylum, while Muslims from Syria and other aliens who have provided limited material support to terrorist thugs gain entry.

At a congressional hearing last Thursday, Barbara Strack, who serves as the chief of the Refugee Affairs Division at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service of the Department of Homeland Security — making her the top refugee official in the Obama administration — did not know Boston Marathon bombers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev had entered this nation as asylum-seeking refugees. “I would need to check with my colleagues, sir,” Strack deferred after the subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), asked the question.

Strack’s stunning incompetence is emblematic. Suffused with a deadly combination of ideologically inspired arrogance and ignorance, this administration has allowed the Islamic State to remain a viable entity, relinquished Iraq to a Russian/Iranian sphere with the ability to dominate the Middle East and protect Syrian butcher Bashar al-Assad, and turned Libya into a jihadist playground. All of it has precipitated the largest refugee crisis since World War II, and thus the American public is expected to countenance thousands of “refugees” vetted by this same group of incompetents who have already decided a certain level of support for terror “under duress” is no big deal.

If you wrote this up as a Hollywood movie script, you couldn’t sell it because no one would believe it. Americans are getting it for free — whether we like it or not.

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