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What do we know about Syrian refugees? by Nolan Rappaport

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WWW.NBCNEWS.COM

The Problem

Syria is on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism because it provides support for acts of international terrorism. It has been on this list since December 29, 1979. Concern about Syria being a breeding ground for international terrorism is so strong that aliens from Visa Waiver countries who have been present in Syria at any time on or after March 1, 2011, have been excluded from participation in the Visa Waiver Program by the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015.

According to a report that the House Homeland Security Committee released in November 2015, Islamist terrorists from Syria are determined to infiltrate refugee flows, and the United States lacks the information needed to screen Syrian refugees for possible terrorism connections. FBI Director James Comey told the Committee, “We can query our databases until the cows come home, but nothing will show up because we have no record of that person...You can only query what you have collected.” An FBI Assistant Director added that, “the concern in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in places on the ground to collect the information... All of the data sets, the police, the intel services that normally you would go and seek that information [from], don’t exist.” A U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official stated further that the government does not have access to any database in Syria that can be used to check the backgrounds of incoming refugees against criminal and terrorist records. National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen explained that “the intelligence picture we’ve had of this [Syrian] conflict zone isn’t what we’d like it to be... you can only review [data] against what you have.”

The Homeland Security Committee concluded that immediate action must be taken to suspend the admission of Syrian refugees until our intelligence and law enforcement agencies can certify that the refugee screening process is adequate to detect individuals with terrorist ties.

The Administration has responded to concerns about the Syrian refugees by establishing a more elaborate screening process which takes between 18 and 24 months to complete. Frankly, I do not know how additional time helps if the sources being checked do not have the needed information, and, as you will see below, the Administration has cut the processing time back to three months to meet President Obama’s goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees here this year.

Refugee Security Screening

The Department of State Consular Lookout and Support System. Name checksare conducted for all refugee applicants when they are prescreened at Resettlement Support Centers.

Security Advisory Opinion. The FBI and intelligence community partners perform a biographic check on Syrian refugees and refugees from other places that have been designated by the U.S. government as requiring a higher level check.

Interagency Check. This is a lower level screening of biographic data that applies to all refugee applicants within designated age ranges. This information is captured at the time of pre-screening and provided to intelligence community partners.

USCIS interview. When USCIS interviews the applicants, their fingerprints are taken and biometric checks are initiated. The officer conducting the interview —


  • Confirms the basic biographical data of the applicant;
  • Verifies that the applicant was properly given access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program;
  • Determines whether the applicant has suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion;
  • Determines whether the applicant is admissible to the United States; and
  • Determines whether he has been firmly resettled in another country.


An FBI Next Generation Identification (NGI) check.
This is a biometric check that is not limited to fingerprints. It also includes palm prints, irises, and facial recognition. The NGI program has established the world’s largest and most efficient electronic repository of biometric and criminal history information.

DHS Automated Biometric Identification System. This is a biometric record check for a travel and immigration history, immigration violations, and law enforcement and national security concerns. Enrollment in this system also allows CBP to confirm identity at the port of entry.

Controlled Application Review and Resolution Process (CARRP). If security and background checks or personal interviews raise national security concerns, USCIS conducts an additional review through the internal CARRP process. CARRP includes a complete review of the case file and, in most cases, additional screening with assistance from the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

Syria Enhanced Review. USCIS’ Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate and the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) have collaborated to provide an enhanced review of Syrian cases. FDNS provides intelligence-driven support to refugee adjudicators, including threat identification, and suggested topics for questioning. FDNS also monitors terrorist watch lists and disseminates intelligence information on applicants who are determined to present a national security threat.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Applicants who succeed in passing through the screening process must be admitted to the United States by CBP before they can receive refugee status. CBP inspects the refugees when they arrive at a port of entry to determine whether they are excludable under any of our immigration laws.

Screening process reduced to three months to succeed in bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees here this year

In a statement released on February 22, 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Jordan announced that, as part of the effort to reach the President’s goal of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees this year, the State Department has established a temporary refugee processing center near Amman. Access to this center is by invitation only. State is hoping to bring an average of 1,500 Syrian refugees a month to the United States with this program, but it has insisted that it is not cutting corners on security. According to State, the security screening in of itself does not take 18 to 24 months. We have compressed the non-security portions of the case work so that the process can be shorter.


Published originally in Huffington Post.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/...=1476314662575

About The Author
Nolan Rappaport
was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive BranchImmigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as the immigration counsel forthe Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to workingon the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for twentyyears. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing andCollaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice asan immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.







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Comments

  1. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Does the Homeland Security recommendation sound familiar to anyone? Someone with the initials DT repeated it as his own idea and has been ridiculed for it ever since.
  2. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Updated response to Nolan Rappaport's above article on October 15, by Roger Algase:

    If there is political opposition to a certain group of refugees for racial or religious reasons, as there was in the case of Jewish refugees in the 1930's to give only one example, and there is against Muslim refugees now, it is always easy to find a pretext for refusing them admission.

    No refugee screening can ever be perfect, as Nolan points out. Since when do we rely on "in country" information from the persecutors, the dictators, the torturers and the war criminals, such as the government in Syria today, or the ISIS terrorists who control a large part of that country, to give us accurate information about the backgrounds of the people they are trying to persecute?

    Nolan's contention that our intensive, multi-layered screening process for refugees, which normally takes up to two years, is in effect worthless because we cannot get information from inside Syria, which can only come from the Russian-backed Syrian murderers' or the ISIS jihadists' own records, such as they might be, makes very little, if any, sense at all.

    For more complete and detailed information about the refugee screening program, see, February 3, 2016:


    Written testimony of USCIS Director Leon Rodriquez for a House Committee on Homeland Security hearing entitled "Crisis of Confidence: Preventing Terrorist Infiltration though U.S. Refugee and Visa Programs"


    https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/02/03/...earing-titled-

    The growing and pernicious Islamophobia which is the real reason for denying or unreasonably restricting US admission of Syrian refugees is dangerous, and not only for Muslim immigrants. It strikes at the foundations of our democracy itself.

    Donald Trump, in particular, with his vicious and unfounded attacks on Syrian refugees as "Trojan Horses" last November, and his threats, in violation of international law against refoulement, to send back Syrian refugees who are already here, as well as his unfoounded attacks on Muslim immigrants and US citizens in general, can only remind us, whether one likes it or not, of another well-known politician who used attacks against the Jews to overthrow democracy in Germany after winning an election there 84 years ago. See: William Saletan's article in Slate:
    Springtime for Donald

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_a...ng_closer.html

    See also:

    Washington Post: October 14 editorial:

    Donald Trump's dangerous ploy to destabilize democracy

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...c4_story/html?


    Will America allow prejudice against Muslim refugees, immigrants and US citizens to let the same thing happen here?

    NEVER AGAIN!


    My original comment follows:

    Sounds like our refugee screening system, in common with those for most or all of the millions of refugees, we have admitted to America in the past half century or more, is not 100 percent foolproof.

    Amazing! Who knew?

    And yet, in the past 50 years, we have taken in millions of refugees, including many from Cuba, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and other communist countries which, we can assume, were not eager to cooperate by sharing their databases (such as they were) with us concerning the individuals involved.

    Many of these countries of origin (such as the Soviet Union) had infinitely more power to harm America than ISIS, for all its evil and malevolence, does now, and their rulers were not shy about making threats to use their enormous power against us.

    I am old enough to remember when Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev told America: "We will bury you".

    Did that stop us from taking in refugees from the Soviet Union, Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, and Cuba?

    But there is a precedent for keeping out a group of refugees because of popular prejuduce and unfounded fears spread by demagogic politicians and other influential figures, including one of America's richest and most successful business tycoons, about whether they could be properly screened and about whether they could assimilate to America or become loyal Americans. I refer, of course, to the Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler in the 1930's.

    We kept the Jewish refugees out then, because we had too many politicians who were using anti-Semitism to get elected.

    Are we going to do the same thing to the Syrian refugees now, who are trying to escape from one of the most horrifying humanitarian catastrophes of the past 40 years at least because of politicians who are spreading Islamophobia for the same purpose - including a certain candidate who is hoping this will take him all the way to the White House?

    This is even as an unspeakably brutal Syrian regime, backed up by a Russian dictator, and, very arguably, war criminal, whom this same US presidential candidate has had at least some words of praise for, continues to blow up hospitals in Aleppo and inflict unspeakable suffering on millions of innocent civiiians?

    Let us hope that America will outgrow using hate and fear against refugee scapegoats and other immigrant and domestic minority groups, based on whatever pretexts - and there are always pretexts available - as a means of building political careers. Let us also hope that we will outgrow using bigotry and scare tactics for political purposes in time for next month's election.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-15-2016 at 01:36 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  3. Unregistered222's Avatar
    This is laughable.

    The same incompetent government paper pushers that admitted people like Boston Marathon bomber into the US are trying to convince public that they actually worthy of their overblown salaries How come people who admitted Tsarnayev brothers into US as "refugees" are not fired with their government pension being stripped from them? Maybe when Trump is elected, there is a chance these people will even go to prison for a long time


    Anyways, moot point. Looks like President Assad with the help of Tsar Putin will finally crush the opposition in Aleppo one way or another. Once he does that, all these fake Syrian refugees will be transported back to their wonderful country (whether they like it or not)

    Trump 2016
  4. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Sounds like our refugee screening system, in common with those for most or all of the millions of refugees, we have admitted to America in the past half century or more, is not 100 percent foolproof.

    Amazing! Who knew?

    And yet, in the past 50 years, we have taken in millions of refugees, including many from Cuba, Vietnam, Eastern Europe and other communist countries which, we can assume, were not eager to cooperate by sharing their databases (such as they were) with us concerning the individuals involved.

    Many of these countries of origin (such as the Soviet Union) had infinitely more power to harm America than ISIS, for all its evil and malevolence, does now, and their rulers were not shy about making threats to use their enormous power against us.

    I am old enough to remember when Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev told America: "We will bury you".

    Did that stop us from taking in refugees from the Soviet Union, Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, and Cuba?

    Let us hope that America will outgrow using hate and fear against refugee scapegoats and other immigrant and domestic minority groups, based on whatever pretexts - and there are always pretexts available - as a means of building political careers. Let us also hope that we will outgrow using bigotry and scare tactics for political purposes in time for next month's election.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Roger, did you read my article before you wrote your comment? The first few paragraphs explain why Syria is different than the other countries we take refugees from. It would be a nice change if you responded to what I say in an article instead of just using the article as a stepping stone to reach the topic you want to talk about

    Nolan Rappaport
  5. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered222
    This is laughable.

    The same incompetent government paper pushers that admitted people like Boston Marathon bomber into the US are trying to convince public that they actually worthy of their overblown salaries How come people who admitted Tsarnayev brothers into US as "refugees" are not fired with their government pension being stripped from them? Maybe when Trump is elected, there is a chance these people will even go to prison for a long time


    Anyways, moot point. Looks like President Assad with the help of Tsar Putin will finally crush the opposition in Aleppo one way or another. Once he does that, all these fake Syrian refugees will be transported back to their wonderful country (whether they like it or not)

    Trump 2016

    One of the points I tried to make in my article is that current situation in Syria is not the justification for including Syria on the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. The State Department put it on that list on December 29, 1979 --- 37 years ago, long before the current war and ISIS. Syria has sponsored international terrorism for a very long time.

    Nolan Rappaport


  6. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan Rappaport argues in reply to my above comment that "Syria is different from the other countries we take refugees from". This may no doubt be true, not only because of ISIS, but because of Assad's brutal Vladimir Putin-backed Syrian dictatorship.

    Assad, with active Russian military help, is currently committing war crimes by blowing up hospitals in Aleppo and perpetrating countless other atrocities against its own people, as well as threatening American interests by givng Russia a base which it can use to take over the entire Middle East - something that neither Donald Trump nor other refugee opponents in the US seem to be worried about nearly as much as they are worried about which religion the Syrian refugees belong to.

    But my point was not about what other countries we are taking refugees in from NOW. My point was about countries we have accepted refugees from IN THE PAST.

    We have accepted refugees from Communist Cuba. Was Cuba never a critically dangerous threat to the US? Does anyone remember the Cuba Missile crisis of October, 1962? I certainly do.

    We accepted hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million, refugees from Vietnam, a country we considered so dangerous to our security that 50,000 of our soldiers died in our unsuccessful attempt to prevent a communist takeover of that entire country. Yet Cuban and Vietnamese refugees are considered, by and large, to be among the most successful refugee groups we have ever taken into the US.

    Nolan argues that Syria is "different" because it has been listed as a state sponsor of terrorism by the US State Department since 1979. With all due respect to Nolan, a distinguished immigration law expert who has contributed a great deal to our knowledge and discussion about this field, this argument is simply absurd.

    Aside from the fact that ISIS, while an admittedly an extremely dangerous terror group, is not a "State" (despite its own propaganda), Nolan doesn't explain how Syria got on the state sponsor of terrorism list in 1979. It certainly wasn't because of ISIS, which of course didn't exist at that time.

    The main reason Syria was put on the list was because it sponsored Hezbollah and other similar anti-Israel terrorist organizations.

    But Hezbollah was removed from the US terrorist assessment list last year, in 2015, according to a Newsweek report.

    http://www.newsweek.com/iran-and-hez...r-talks-314073

    If Nolan is looking for reasons to bar Muslim refugees from the US because Syria is "different", I would respectfully suggest that he try to find a better argument than that.

    However, the above is still not my main point. My point is that there are very real and disturbing, parallels between the movement to bar Muslim Syrian refugees from the US today and the rampant anti-semitism that kept so many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany out ot America in the 1930's.

    Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have recently published comprehensive articles on this topic, which I would, again with all due respect to Nolan, encourage him to read and respond to. I will discuss these two articles in detail in my own forthcoming Immigration Daily blog post. The links are as follows.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/w...-anti-semitism

    and

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/20/us...oday.html?_r=0

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law


    Updated 10-13-2016 at 09:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  7. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    But the above is still not my main point. My point is that there are very real and disturbing, parallels between the movement to bar Muslim Syrian refugees from the US today and the rampant anti-semitism that kept so many Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany out ot America in the 1930's.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    How about responding to things I say in my article, such as the following:

    1. Syria has been on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism for almost 40 years because it sponsors international terrorism. That means democratic as well as republican administrations have kept it on the list.

    2. The overwhelmingly bipartisan bill that modified the Visa Waiver Program in response to the terrorist attacks in Europe excludes aliens who have been to Syria at any time in recent years.

    3. The experts who have full knowledge of what information is available on Syrian refugees have told the Homeland Security Committee in the House that the information needed to screen Syrian refugees for terrorist connections and criminal records is not available.

    4. The Homeland Security Committee has recommended a halt to bringing Syrian refugees here until that information is available.

    5. The administration's response to concern about terrorists coming with bona fide Syrian refugees was met with an expansion of the screening process to 12 to 18 months.

    6. The administration hasn't responded to the complaint that the sources being checked during that long screening period do not have the necessary information according to the agency heads that the administration appointed.

    7. The 12 to 18 month screening period was cut to 3 months to make sure that Obama's goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees can be met this year. Sounds to me like meeting that goal was more important than our national security.


  8. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    No one is arguing with Nolan's point that America needs the best screening we can put in place for refugees, and all foreign citizens entering this country, in order to protect against possible terrorist attacks, without sealing our borders entirely or turning America into a police state.

    But does the fact that 100 percent perfect screening is impossible almost by definition mean that we should scapegoat Syrian refugees, who are fleeing from the twin horrors of the world's most evil and dangerous Jihadist terrorist group on the one hand, and one of the world's most brutal, Russian-backed, dictatorships on the other, merely because Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States, just as anti-semitism in the 1930's caused America to turn away so many Jewish refugees from Hitler's ovens and concentration camps?

    There were plenty of excuses and rationalizations for turning away Jewish refugees then, including the alleged threat of Nazi infiltration, just as there are plenty of pretexts for turning away Muslim refugees now.

    This is why I would encourage Nolan to respond to the similarities between the two cases which were pointed out in the authoritative articles I have cited above.

    It would also be interesting if Nolan could give us statistics on how many actual terrorist incidents there have been in the US involving the 10,000 Syrian refugees who are already in the US, or how many there have been in Canada involving any of the 25,000 Syrian refugees who have been admitted to that country, with its much smaller population.

    The reports I have seen so far indicate zero on both counts. If I am wrong about this, I would welcome a correction.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-13-2016 at 10:02 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  9. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    No one is arguing with Nolan's point that America needs the best screening we can put in place for refugees, and all foreign citizens entering this country, in order to protect against possible terrorist attacks, without sealing our borders entirely or turning America into a police state.

    But does the fact that 100 percent perfect screening is impossible almost by definition mean that we should scapegoat Syrian refugees, who are fleeing from the twin horrors of the world's most evil and dangerous Jihadist terrorist group on the one hand, and one of the world's most brutal, Russian-backed, dictatorships on the other, merely because Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States, just as anti-semitism in the 1930's caused America to turn away so many Jewish refugees from Hitler's ovens and concentration camps?

    There were plenty of excuses and rationalizations for turning away Jewish refugees then, including the alleged threat of Nazi infiltration, just as there are plenty of pretexts for turning away Muslim refugees now.


    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    You still are ignoring what I say in the article. For instance, you say 100% perfect screening isn't possible, but my point is that the agency heads appointed by Obama's administration who know what information is available have told congress that NO INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE on what Syrian refugees have done in Syria. That means unless they have done something to come to the attention of the authorities after leaving Syria, NO INFORMATION AT ALL IS AVAILABLE ON THEM.
  10. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Not entirely correct, Nolan. There is one piece of information that we do know about nearly all of the Syrian refugees we have been screening and letting in. They are Muslims.

    We also knew that hundreds of thousands or arguably millions of refugees from Hitler's gas chambers whom we turned away in the 1930's were Jews.

    Maybe you don't see a parallel. Other scholars do, as explained in the two articles I have referred to above (among others on the same point which are also available), and which I will discuss in a forthcoming blog post of my own.

    And how much did we know about the Cuban, Vietnamese and other refugees we have admitted, and successfully so, from other dangerous or threatening part of the world?

    Were the databases on Vietnamese boat people, for example, better than those we have on the Syrians? Certainly, there was no more shortage of racial prejudice against Vietnamese refugees among many sectors of the American public then there is now against Syrian refugees because of their religion.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-13-2016 at 10:44 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  11. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I will try again.

    Syria has been on the State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism since 1979 because it sponsors international terrorism. Concern about Syria being a breeding ground for international terrorism is so strong that aliens from Visa Waiver countries who have been present in Syria at any time on or after March 1, 2011, have been excluded from participation in the Visa Waiver Program by the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015. That bill was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The agency heads that Obama appointed who are in a position to know what information is available on terrorists and terrorist activities, etc., told the Homeland Security Committee that we have no access to information from within Syria.

    So Roger, how can we do a background check with any validity on Syrian refugees who have not done something outside of Syria that brought them to the attention of the authorities we seek information from?
    Updated 10-13-2016 at 10:09 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  12. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    In the 1930's, America turned away Jewish refugees who were fleeing from Dachau, Buchenwald and, ultimately Auschwitz. One of the pretexts at that time was that some of these refugees might have turned out to be Nazi agents in disguise and that we had no way of knowing.

    In 2016, Donald Trump and other politicians want America to turn away Syrians who are fleeing from one of the world's worst dictatorships and ithe world's most evil and dangerous terrorist group, because we can't get background information about the refugees from the torturers and the terrorists whom they are fleeing from.

    Nolan says that Syria is a bad country and has been so for many years. No one will argue with that. The Assad dynasty, now backed by the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin whom Donald Trump has had at least some words of praise for (along with his praise for Saddam Hussein and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un), is one of the worst dictatorships of modern times.

    But was Nazi Germany a good country? Where is the difference?

    As a general matter, refugees don't flee from good countries. They flee from bad ones, just as did the Jews whom America tried to help in escaping from the Soviet Union, then our worst and by far most dangerous cold war enemy, in the 1970's.

    Did America have access to Soviet databases on the backgrounds of these Jewish refugees, whom we actively encouraged to come to this country?

    So far, there are an estimated four million Syrian refugees in Europe and the Middle East, as well as 25,000 who have been screened and admitted to Canada, and as the pathetically, disgracefully, small number of 10,000 who have so far been screened and lawfully admitted to the US.

    True, there have been some criminal incidents in Europe involving Syrian refugees, as there unfortunately are, and always will be, in any immigrant (and domestic citizen) population, but there have been no terrorist incidents involving any Syrian refugees that I am aware of.

    Nolan can, and i have no doubt whatsoever, will, correct me if I am wrong about this. But Nolan has not mentioned a single terrorist incident involving Syrian refugees anywhere in North America.

    All he is offering us is what US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner aptly called a "nightmare scenario" in that Court's recent decision throwing out Governor and VP candidate Mike Pence's attempt to keep Syrian refugees out of Indiana. See Exodus Immigration v. Pence, decided on October 3, 2016.

    We also have to look at the longer-term consequences of attacking unpopular ethnic or religious groups for purely political purpose, which was the issue in the 1930's regarding Jewish immigrants and is the issue now involving Muslim ones.

    In many countries, attacks against unpopular minorities, such as Jews were in Germany and Muslims are now in the US, have been the prelude to dictatorship.

    Could the same thing happen in Donald Trump's America, where the road began with his proposals to build a Wall against Latino immigrants, ban all Muslims from around the world, and to send back Syrian refugees who are already here legally and have done no harm to anyone?

    (This proposal also happens to be in direct violation of international law against refugee refoulement - something that I would argue that President Bill Clinton actually did violate, though the Supreme Court disagreed and upheld his actions regarding Haitian refugees - but that is another story.)

    Donald Trump's attempt to exploit fear and hatred against Syrian refugees, as well as other Muslim immigrants and US citizens, has now led to the next step towar dictatorship in America, namely his threat to lock up his main political opponent, Hillary Clinton.

    On this latter point, see the perceptive article by the Washington Post's well known conservative writer and Republican supporter Charles Krauthammer:

    It's not the 'locker room' talk. It's the 'Lock her up' talk

    http://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/...108029637.html

    As Charles Krauthammer's article shows, the threat of dictatorship that Donald Trump poses to this country is America's real nightmare scenario.

    Not the Syrian refugees.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law



    Updated 10-14-2016 at 07:30 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  13. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Although Nolan has not responded to my comments about the similarities between America's reluctance to admit Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930's and the movement to bar Syrian refugees (or even send them back!) now, he keeps harping on the obvious fact that our screening procedures for Syrian refugees are not perfect, and by their nature, never can be.

    But would the Gestapo have been willing to share its (no doubt quite extensive) databases on Jewish refugees with American authorities in the 1930's? And was it right to refuse admission to Jewish refugees who later, in many cases, wound up in Hitler's concentration and death camps as a result?

    And even if we had access to databases maintained by the Syrian government war criminals who are now, with the help of the same Vladimir Putin whom Donald Trump has expressed admiration for, bombing hospitals in Aleppo and starving its people into submission, of what value would they be?

    I would answer Nolan's argument about the obvious imperfections in screening (despite the up to two years of investigations which America normally carries out for each admitted refugee) by using an old Yiddish expression to decribe his contention about the alleged perils of letting Syrian refugees into the United States:

    Es vet dir gornisht helfen.

    (It won't help you.")

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-14-2016 at 08:33 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  14. Unregistered222's Avatar
    Actually it is looking up! I already got several people to register and vote for Trump mentioning fake Syrian "refugees" being shoved down the throat of US taxpayers against their will it is going good.
  15. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by ImmigrationLawBlogs
    Although Nolan has not responded to my comments about the similarities between America's reluctance to admit Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany in the 1930's and the movement to bar Syrian refugees (or even send them back!) now, he keeps harping on the obvious fact that our screening procedures for Syrian refugees are not perfect, and by their nature, never can be.
    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Roger hasn't convinced me that the treatment of refugees 80 years ago is relevant to deciding how the Syrian refugees should be treated today. How will that comparison shed light on whether terrorists will be able to sneak into our country with bona fide Syrian refugees, which is the subject of my article? Whether we should let them in without knowing anything about them is a legitimate issue, but it is not the one that is discussed in my article. If you want to discuss that issue, write your own article. Mine doesn't address that topic.

    Roger, why are you having so much difficulty reading my comments? I have never said that the procedures for screening Syrian refugees needs to be improved because it is not perfect. I HAVE SAID, OVER AND OVER AGAIN IN THIS DISCUSSION, THAT WE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ANY INFORMATION FROM WITHIN SYRIA.


    Updated 10-14-2016 at 02:59 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  16. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The screening process for Syrian refugees is now taking up to two years. Even if it is not perfect, it is a wild exaggeration to imply that we cannot learn anything about their history, even if official governmental information from their home countries, whether Syria now or Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Vietnam or wherever in the past has not been available, as it rarely is, has been, or can be expected to be.

    If someone has made up his mind that he doesn't want to let refugees from Syria or any other country into the US, it is all too easy to claim that the information about them is incomplete in one way or another, since despite Vladimir Putin and his at least sometime admirer Donald Trump, we do not yet live in George Orwell's fully totalitarian world.

    Since Nolan doesn't seem to be interested in seriously responding to my Jewish refugee analogy, or to my above quoted old Jewish saying, I will instead offer a saying which I heard from a Polish immigrant (who defected from that then communist country in order to live in freedom in the US many years ago, just as Syrian refugees are seeking to do now):

    "If someone wants to beat a dog, he can always find a stick."

    I am certainly not quoting this to compare refugees to dogs, but to compare our current bigotry-free, race and religion neutral refugee admissions system and immigration system in general to a scapegoat and an object of attack on the part of Donald Trump and other demagogic, power-hungry politicians in America and Europe.

    They can always find a stick.

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-14-2016 at 04:00 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
  17. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    Nolan still hasn't provided us with any figures on the number of alleged or confirmed terror related incidents there have been in all of North America by any of the 35,000 Syrian refugees who have been screened and admitted to this continent to date.

    How long does it take to write "zero"? Was Judge Posner of the 7th Circuit off base in writing, in that Court's October 3 decision in the case I cited above, that Governor Mike Pence's attempt to bar Syrian refugees from his state was nothing but a "nightmare scenario", not backed up by any evidence, and was based on speculation only?

    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
  18. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    The screening process for Syrian refugees is now taking up to two years.

    This proves that you didn't read my article. The process was cut back to three months to meet President Obama's goal of bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees here this year.

    Even if it is not perfect, it is a wild exaggeration to imply that we cannot learn anything about their history, even if official governmental information from their home countries, whether Syria now or Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Vietnam or wherever in the past has not been available, as it rarely is, has been, or can be expected to be.

    I didn't mention official governmental information. Another thing you would know if you had read the article. According to the government officials I refer to in the article, no information is available from within Syria. The only available information is what the refugees themselves tell the screening officers. Unless they have been arrested or done something to come to the attention of intelligence community
    since they left Syria.

  19. ImmigrationLawBlogs's Avatar
    I have already made my point clear that complete information about the background of any given refugee or group of refugees is impossible and should not be used as a pretext for refusing to admit Muslim refugees now, any more than it would have been a valid excuse for refusing to admit other groups of refugees who were the objexts of popular prejudice in the past, such as Jews in the 1930's, Vietnamese in the 1970's, and a group of Cubans who were accepted as refugees by the US even though information about their criminal backgrounds was readily available from their home country and was openly boasted about by their country's communist leader, Fidel Castro, at the time of the Mariel Boat incident.

    We also need to look at the larger potential consequences of allowing the Islamophobia which we all know is the real reason the intense political opposition to Syrian refugees - which one of our most respected federal circuit court judges, Richars Posner, recently dismissed as "nightmare speculation" unsupported by any hard evidence, see above, to take root in America.

    Islamophobia is not only leading to an increase in hate crimes against Muslims in this country, as I discuss in more detail in my own October 15 ilw.com blog post, but it can put our democracy itself in danger.

    We can no longer continue to ignore the clear and obvious comparisons between today's politically motivated attacks against admitting Syrian refugees, whom one of our two major presidential candidates called "Trojan Horses" last November, as well as attacks by that same candidate against Muslims in general, and the attacks on Jews made by another well known politician which led to his victory in a certain German election 84 years ago. See:

    William Saletan: Springtime for Donald

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/10/nobody_s_like_hitler_but_trump_is_getting_closer.html


    Roger Algase
    Attorney at Law
    Updated 10-17-2016 at 12:53 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs
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