• Don’t Believe America About Syrian Refugees

    September 15, 2015

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Afghanistan, Embassy/State, Iraq, Syria



    The world finally noticed that one Syrian refugee kid drowned on a beach, after failing to notice the Middle East refugee crisis has been an ongoing disaster for almost five years now.

    Same for the U.S.; Obama just announced he wants America to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees, so this is all fixed now, we can go back to Miley and Katy, right? No.

    The Day Before

    Here was the state of affairs as of the day before Obama’s announcement.

    The United Nations High Commission for Refugees referred 15,000 Syrians to Washington for resettlement over the last four years; the United States accepted 1,500, with formally announced plans to take in only another 1,800 by next year, citing, among other issues, concerns over terrorists hiding among the groups.

    With no apparent irony, United States Senator Patrick Leahy stated the refugee crisis “warrants a response commensurate with our nation’s role as a humanitarian leader.” Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is “looking hard at the number” of additional Syrian refugees it might accommodate, given America’s “leadership role with respect to humanitarian issues and particularly refugees.”

    Many in Washington likely felt that was enough. A token increase, some nice, high-flying language, a little sprinkle of freedom and respect. I think we’re done here.

    The Day After

    But, after seeing that it was a slow week and the media was still showing sad pictures of refugees on the TV box, it seemed more (rhetoric) was needed. So, on September 10, President Obama announced, per the New York Times headline, he will “Increase Number of Syrian Refugees for U.S. Resettlement to 10,000.”

    Well, that’s good, right? I mean, the estimates are that there are some four million Syrian refugees already out there, with another 10 million internally displaced, so even if it is 10,000 that’s hardly anything but still, better than nothing.



    What He Said, What He Meant

    Maybe. But let’s dig down one level deeper.

    To be precise, Obama did not say the U.S. is taking 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY2016. He did not say if the 10k were part of the U.S.’ overall 70k refugee cap, or in addition to it, meaning other refugees could be left behind to favor the flavor-of-the-moment out of Syria. Obama also did not explain that the United States processes refugees abroad (if the person is somehow in the U.S. physically, that’s asylum, different thing, done while the person is in the U.S.)

    Actually, have a look at the exact wording from the White House spokesperson (emphasis added): “The president has… informed his team that he would like them to accept, at least make preparations to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees.”

    Refugees are processed, not accepted. That processing can take years, indefinite if enough information on a person’s security background cannot be amassed; there remains great fear in the U.S. government about terrorists sneaking into refugee flows, and so if a positive “up” decision cannot be made that a person is “safe,” then the default is indefinite pending status. Such a conundrum has, for example, stymied the applications of many Iraqis and Afghanis who served as translators for the American military and fear for their lives, only to have been stuck left behind.

    As Representative Peter King said “Our enemy now is Islamic terrorism, and these people are coming from a country filled with Islamic terrorists. We don’t want another Boston Marathon bombing situation.”

    There are also medical and other checks before a refugee is approved. With all the variables, there is no average processing time, but post-9/11 we can say the average is s-l-o-w. In the world of suffering, slow can often mean death.



    Bottom Line

    It appears the White House is taking full advantage of the media’s ignorance of how refugee processing works to create the appearance of doing something when little of a practical nature is being done, all sizzle and no meat. There is little help coming from the United States for any significant number of Syrian refugees. Sorry guys!



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  • Recent Comments

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      1

      It’s sad people would think there have to be terrorists among the refugees but the notion that terrorists are lurking among refugees dates from the Cheney admin. The other sad aspect is we are funding an ally of al Qaeda — al Nusra, in Syria. So much for ‘never forget’.

      The Washington Post had an article on Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe — one of the persons interviewed had worked as — a translator/interpreter for our military in Iraq.

      I’ve heard of a group established by a vet, Matt Zeller, who tries to help interpretors who worked with our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. These guys should be, and I thought there was such a mechanism already but obviously not being utilized, able to come to the US on a special visa given their prior work with our military. Their numbers should be separate from the traditional figures for refugee admissions. Not sure who processes such cases (ie people who worked for our military in Iraq and Afghanistan), but if I remember right, processing for the ‘regular’ refugees is under Homeland Security but not sure if that has changed?

      09/15/15 7:21 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      2

      Kyzi- Americans were the invaders in Iraq and Afghanistan and some locals became “translators” and worked with and for the invaders. That was called collaborating with the enemy in other wars and occupations.

      09/15/15 9:36 AM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...

      3

      He “would like them to” is the little-understood subjunctive, meaning when pigs have wings these applicants will be admitted. “I would buy that island if I had 50 million dollars.”

      Once the press attention shifts, let’s see how many new workers are hired to process these applications – and how much money is spent to move these refugees to the US.

      09/15/15 12:49 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...

      4

      OR, we can STOP PRODUCING REFUGEES from US’ “well Meaning” WAR on The WORLD!

      09/15/15 1:28 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...

      5

      Bruce- I think the UN’s “responsibility to protect” was a brilliant ruse. The US can use it for its continued push for world hegemony. We just had to protect all those threatened civilians in Benghazi so we launched with NATO’s help a humanitairn intervention which was cover for regime change and American ownership of those oil fields. I’m pretty certain more than one child ended up lying face down in the Libyan desert but it is impolite to bring up perhaps Obama’s most perverse and criminal act.

      09/15/15 3:18 PM | Comment Link

    • bloodypitchfork said...

      6

      John Poole said…

      quote” I’m pretty certain more than one child ended up lying face down in the Libyan desert but it is impolite to bring up perhaps Obama’s most perverse and criminal act.”unquote

      And therein lies the truth. No American can slap Obama’s face with the reality he authorized the murder of hundreds, if not thousands of innocent lives. Folks.. get a grip. This psychopath is a fraud. The biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the Murikan psych. All one has to do is search the background of this…

      http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2013/02/08/171467519/death-by-drone-and-the-sliding-scale-of-presidential-power

      yeah..one of these days WE are going to have to make a choice..

      09/15/15 7:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...

      7

      John, yeah you are right. There’s more photos out there of other kids who drowned when their families tried to flee Syria, and them washing up on beaches. This little guy is not alone

      09/15/15 8:53 PM | Comment Link

    • liz said...

      8

      You appear to be one of the few who understands this. Thank you.
      When I read Obama’s statment, I too had to laugh at the BS in it.
      We can’t even get our allies out of Iraq and Afg.

      09/18/15 9:21 AM | Comment Link

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