In the wake of the deadly Paris attacks by ISIS, some GOP presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are calling for an end to Syrian refugee resettlement in the U.S.
Most of the others have been silent or vague on the issue of Syrian refugees – about 2,000 of whom have already arrived in the U.S. despite warnings from the FBI that it’s impossible to vet their backgrounds.
But there is one candidate who is clearly on the record wanting more Syrian Muslims to pour into American cities and towns as “refugees,” despite the fact that at least one of the seven attackers in Paris had a Syrian passport and entered France as a “refugee.”
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who positions himself as a war hawk against ISIS, is co-sponsoring legislation with Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to nearly double the amount of funding Washington spends on resettling refugees from Syria.
On the day after the multi-pronged shooting and bombing attacks on Paris, which killed 129 civilians and injured 352, Graham pounced again on the theme that ISIS must be attacked at its core in Syria and destroyed, or there would be more attacks on Western cities.
One of Graham’s favorite talking points is, “If we don’t stop them over there, they are coming over here just as sure as I stand here in front of you.”
It’s curious, then, say his critics, that he would be pushing for escalating the importation of more Islamic refugees into U.S. cities and towns from the world’s most notorious hotbed of jihadist activity – Syria.
Graham’s press secretary did not respond to requests for comment from WND.
Without giving a number, Graham has said the U.S. should accept its “fair share” of Syrian refugees.
His bill provides some insight on what that number might be.
Leahy’s office told the Hill that the legislation would allow for the resettlement of up to 100,000 Syrian refugees over two years.
Even President Obama has never explicitly said this many Syrians should be allowed into the U.S, although that could be his plan given the vagueness of his statements. Obama’s State Department has called for 10,000 Syrians to be admitted in 2016 and “many more” in 2017.
FBI Director James Comey explicitly warned Congress in a hearing last month the U.S. does not have the ability to screen Syrian refugees because data on their background history does not exist.
And the number given by Leahy – 100,000 – also correlates with the number being requested by various human rights organizations and resettlement agencies.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called for 100,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled in the U.S., as have the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the International Rescue Committee and others.
The latest call for 100,000 Syrian refugees to be imported into the U.S. came just last week from Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, a leading proponent of refugee resettlement and the transfer of Islamic immigrants from the Middle East to the West.
Acer gave kudos to none other than Lindsey Graham in a Nov. 12 op-ed for the Hill, citing his courage in calling for more Muslim refugees to be sent to America as part of the bill co-sponsored with Leahy.
Just one day before the Paris attack, Acer said Graham’s bill had “bipartisan support.”
“There is bipartisan support for increased appropriations to address the refugee crisis, as evidenced by the introduction of the Middle East Refugee Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act by Sens. Graham and Patrick Leahy,” she wrote. “This bill would provide an extra $1 billion in emergency funding for humanitarian aid and resettlement of Syrian refugees.”
Importing the threat while calling for war abroad
In Graham’s own state of South Carolina, refugee resettlement has become a hot-button issue. World Relief, an evangelical Christian aid group, announced in March it has been given permission by Republican Gov. Nikki Haley to import dozens of Middle Eastern and African refugees into the state, which has not traditionally been a major receiver of Muslim refugees.
The federal government pays World Relief and agencies like it nearly $2,000 for every foreign refugee they resettle in the U.S.
Christina Jeffrey, former historian for the U.S. House of Representatives and a leading activist against Haley’s decision to allow the federal refugee program into South Carolina, said Graham and politicians like him seem confused. They call for war on ISIS abroad while importing the threat to the homeland.
“We should be defunding refugee resettlement not funding more,” Jeffrey told WND. “And I think the majority of people in South Carolina would agree. I’m not seeing much support for the refugee program (even before the Paris attacks) and I’m not seeing it among the black people I associate who are Catholics, who are students, who I exercise with at the WMCA,” the professor said.
Yet, it has to be more than just ignorance or naivety on Graham’s part, Jeffrey said.
“It’s not possible for me to think of our senator, Lindsey Graham, as not intelligent so I’m sure he has reasons for what he does but I don’t know what they are,” she said.
British historian and philosopher Arnold Toynbee said great civilizations do not die. They commit suicide.
Jeffrey, an adjunct professor of history at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, says Paris must not be viewed in a box. This attack is just the latest in a historical pattern in which the dark side of Islam has been reawakening. The problem is, only one side in the war seems to be aware of what is at stake.
“We’re watching the suicide of the West and I don’t think America wants to join in that suicide,” Jeffrey said. “The steps by which a civilization commits suicide begins with the leaders not sharing the interests of the people, and when that happens the people will lose heart, they will begin to lose their heritage and hate their country and pretty soon you have no nation. It cannot survive.”
The Obama administration has already agreed to bring in 85,000 foreign refugees from all countries in fiscal 2016 and 100,000 in 2017. More than half of these refugees typically come from Muslim-dominated countries like Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As an example of how oblivious most of America is to the historic clash of civilizations, nearly 100 mayors have signed a document calling for Obama to vastly increase in the number of Syrian refugees being resettled in their cities.
During World War II, would U.S. mayors have called on the federal government to send them more Japanese or German nationals, imported directly from the countries with whom America was at war?
“And I think people wonder, why are there 100 U.S. mayors who want to increase the number of refugees in their cities. It defies logic,” Jeffrey said.
Even if none of them were terrorists, which is unlikely given the FBI warnings, bringing in unskilled people from Third World countries who will take the jobs of Americans and send much of their paycheck back home to their families abroad doesn’t make good sense for America, Jeffrey said.
More than 90 percent of refugees from the Middle East also sign up for food stamps, 61 percent are on Medicaid and 24 percent live in public housing, according to studies by the Congressional Research Office. The costs of educating their children far exceed what it costs to educate a native English speaker or even a Spanish speaker.
“How is this going to help our economy?” Jeffrey said.
The fact that Obama, Graham and Congress are not calling for Syrian Christians and Iraqi Christians to be rescued and brought to the U.S. as refugees proves they are not really all that concerned about humanitarian issues, Jeffrey said.
These religious minorities are being hunted down and forced to convert under threat of death by ISIS, yet no American politician seems to have championed their cause.
“We’re standing by and watching genocide and we don’t even have the excuses that we had in World War II that we were fighting a war,” she said.
The majority of the refugees fleeing Syria are men. Almost all of them, 97 percent, are Muslim and the majority of those are Sunni Muslim, many subscribing to Salafist beliefs, which are the most extreme in their interpretation of the Quran and adherence to Shariah law.
Graham’s bill to almost double the funding for Syrian refugee resettlement also would put more pressure on the already strained FBI and law-enforcement agencies who are trying to keep up with open ISIS investigations in all 50 states, said Lauren Martel, an attorney in the Hilton Head Island area who, like Jeffrey, is trying to stop the flow of refugees to South Carolina.
People ‘forget he’s running for president’
“He (Graham) is being reckless with our own military, our law enforcement and homeland security, and he’s supposed to be such a proponent of making sure those people are taken care of,” Martel said. “The fact he’s running for president, everyone forgets that. He’s signed an oath and he’s supposed to be protecting America and its Constitution and here he is asking for more money for a United Nations refugee program. It’s our money.”
Martel said Graham should drop out of the race.
“How can he even continue to be a candidate if he’s filing his kind of legislation,” she said.
Opposing bills would halt refugee resettlement
On the flip side of the Graham-Leahy bill is another being put forth by U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who wants to place a tighter rein on all federal funding flowing to Syrian refugees.
Another bill by U.S. Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, would halt all refugee resettlement from all countries until a full accounting of the program’s costs and risks to national security can be assessed. That bill, introduced July 29, is now up to 46 co-sponsors in the House.
Babin, a freshman congressman, warned in a floor speech to the House that the United Nations-run refugee program poses a “grave threat” to American security.
Babin told WND that people in all states should contact their congressmen and tell them to support his bill, HR 3314.
Others, such as Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, have been issuing the same type of warnings about Syrian refugees.
The attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 now make those warnings prophetic.