News & Politics

DHS Says Refugees Are Allowed Into U.S. Based Only on Their Testimony

A Department of Homeland Security official admitted during a Senate hearing on Wednesday that DHS allows refugees into the country based on their testimony alone.

The Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest hearing, chaired by Senator Jeff Sessions, addressed the Obama administration’s plan “to admit 110,000 refugees into the United States … beginning this Saturday.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) exposed the serious defect in the Obama administration’s refugee resettlement efforts by reading from DHS’s own memorandum, which stated:

[The] refugee program is particularly vulnerable of fraud due to loose evidentiary requirements where at times the testimony of an applicant alone is sufficient for approval.

As a result, a range of bad actors who use manufactured histories, biographies, and other false statements, as well as produce and submit facetious supporting documentation, have exploited this program.

Cruz continued:

[T]he memo goes on to note that in many instances, the applicant for a benefit — including both asylum — receives a government issued document that contains the biographic information that the applicant supplied. This document can then be used for many things including getting a driver’s license.

Pointing out that this is an obvious “recipe for fraud,” Cruz asked Leon Rodriguez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services:

[H]ow can we be confident that the refugees coming in are not in fact terrorists seeking to murder innocent Americans?

Rodriguez argued that he doesn’t give the memo “a whole lot of credit” because it was written by someone who lacked familiarity with the process.

Cruz then pressed him to answer:

[Is it] true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?

“It is considered, it depends on the case,” Rodriguez replied, before going into more detail about the huge piles of documents DHS has stacked up at their refugee resettlement centers.

Cruz interrupted:

Mr. Rodriguez, it’s a very simple question. … Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?

Rodriguez admitted that “there are cases where testimony is not necessarily corroborated by documents,” but Cruz pressed him a final time, demanding a clear answer. Finally, Rodriguez gave in.

I am acknowledging that 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.

Sessions then took over, and chastised Rodriguez for taking so long to answer a simple question. “I don’t appreciate it,” Sessions said.

He went on to note what FBI Director James Comey testified to before the Senate earlier this week. Said Comey:

[T]he so-called caliphate will be crushed. The challenge will be: through the fingers of that crush are going to come hundreds of very, very dangerous people. They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we’ve never seen before.

We must prepare ourselves and our allies particularly in Western Europe to confront that threat, because when ISIL is reduced to an insurgency and those killers flow out, they will try to come to Western Europe and try to come here to kill innocent people.

Comey also testified last November that the country can’t properly vet all Syrian refugees for terror ties.

Sessions stated to Rodriguez:

We don’t have a system that can stop that from happening. I’m uneasy that you’re reluctant to acknowledge the dangers that we have. You’re in charge of it.

I think Senator Cruz is correct that there is a willful blindness, here. Just a refusal to acknowledge plain reality.

In his opening statement, Senator Sessions said:

President Obama has pushed to expand the annual admission of refugees from 70,000 in FY 2015, and 85,000 in FY 2016, to 110,000 beginning this Saturday — on top of asylum admissions, green cards, foreign workers, and all other forms of immigration into the United States.

The American people strongly oppose these policies. According to the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll, 48 percent of Americans do not want any more refugees, with an additional 26 percent supporting much lower numbers than what the President has proposed. This means that a total of 74 percent of Americans do not support these increases.