Following the Supreme Court’s reinstatement of much of President Donald Trump’s travel ban, a new report has revealed that at least 61 people who came to the United States as refugees engaged in terrorist activities between 2002 and 2016.
According to the report conducted by the Heritage Foundation, scores of refugees, including many who arrived in the U.S. prior to 2002, have participated in activities ranging from lying to investigators regarding terror plots, to perpetrating acts of terror.
The report is focused on reforming the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by recommending stricter limits and restrictions on refugees.
“There is no universal right to migrate, resettlement is not the solution to mass displacement, and U.S. policymakers have a responsibility to ensure that the United States takes in only as many refugees as it can safely vet and assimilate,” the report states. “The United States operates the program not because it is obligated to resettle refugees, but because the U.S. is a humane country and USRAP serves its national interests.”
The report could lend support to the effort by the Trump administration to curtail the number of refugees who come to the U.S. annually.
Another concern raised by the report is the claim that no amount of refugee vetting can account for the “1.5 generation”—refugees who came to the U.S. with peaceful intentions and them became radicalized.
“Given the threat that we found in the 1.5 generation, more needs to be done in the U.S. assimilation process,” said John Cooper, spokesman for the Heritage Foundation. “We can’t vet an 8-year-old to see if he will become a terrorist when he turns 18 or 28. Instead, we as a country need to rethink the way we assimilate refugees, and immigrants as a whole for that matter.”
“In the past few decades, the United States has drifted from its strong assimilation ethos, and the terrorism in Europe paints a disturbing picture of where non-assimilation leads,” he said.
In light of the “1.5 generation” challenge, the report recommends that the U.S. increase efforts to urge Middle Eastern countries—especially the oil-wealthy Gulf States—to resettle Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
“Many Syrian and Iraqi refugees share similar cultural and religious values with the people of the Gulf States, which have the financial capacity for resettlement,” the report found. “Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have donated hundreds of millions of dollars each for relief efforts, but the U.S. should urge the Gulf States to increase their aid for their Arab Muslim neighbors by resettling Syrians with all the rights and protections due to refugees.”
The Trump administration is working to limit and more strictly screen refugees. Earlier in 2017, the administration reduced the number of refugees that the U.S. would accept this fiscal year to 50,000 from the Obama administration’s intended 110,000. The new cap established by the Trump administration has almost been reached.
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