Despite concerns that radical foreign fighters could infiltrate the United States as refugees, the Obama administration says it expects the number of Syrian refugees to quadruple in 2015 and 2016, according to CNS News.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Friday that although the U.S. admitted more than 500 Syrians annually since 2011, the coming fiscal years are likely to see up to 2,000 Syrian refugees admitted.
“The United States has admitted 524 Syrians since 2011. We’re likely to admit 1,000 to 2,000 Syrian refugees for permanent resettlement in Fiscal Year 2015 and a somewhat higher number, though still in the low thousands, in Fiscal Year 2016,” CNS News quoted Psaki.
The revelation came the same week, as CNS News reported, House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) expressed concerns at a hearing about bringing in refugees from Syria.
“I’ve been over there and I’ve seen them,” McCaul said. “Yeah, most of them are women and children but there are male actors that concern me. I think this would be a huge mistake if we bring in these refugees into the United States that could potentially be radicalized…We’re not only trying to keep these guys, the foreign fighters, out, but under this would be a federally sanctioned welcome party, if you will, to potential terrorists in the United States.”
Friday, Psaki assured the refugees would be vetted — saying “refugees are the most carefully vetted of all travelers to the United States” and argued that the U.S. “has a long tradition of welcoming refugees” and that it is “one of our values.”
“Every refugee under consideration for admission to the United States undergoes the same intensive security screening involving multiple federal intelligence, security, and law enforcement agencies. These include the [The National Counterterrorism Center], the Terrorist Screening Center, the Department of Defense, the FBI. This process includes a lengthy overseas in-person refugee determination and security screening interview conducted by specifically trained, specially trained DHS officers,” Psaki said.