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Judicial Watch Sues for Refugee Information, Says Admin ‘Has Something to Hide’

A government accountability organization has sued the Obama administration for records regarding refugee resettlement in the U.S.

Judicial Watch announced Monday that it has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the State Department failed to respond to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted in May and September seeking administration documents, communications, transcripts, and data in 2014 and 2015 related to refugee placement.

The Obama administration plans to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees to the U.S. in fiscal year 2016 despite recent terrorist attacks and concerns voiced by lawmakers and top officials about the vulnerabilities in the vetting system.

“The Obama administration doesn’t want Americans to know about how it places refugees from terrorist states in their local communities,” Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement.

Concerns that ISIS or another terrorist element may infiltrate the refugee process has been heightened following the recent Islamic terrorist attack in San Bernardino, which claimed the lives of 14 people, and the Paris attack in which 129 people were killed. One of the San Bernardino attackers was allowed into the U.S. after being vetted for a fiancée visa, and it was later discover that some of the Paris attackers entered Europe by posing as refugees.

“The fact we had to file a federal lawsuit to obtain basic information about Obama’s dangerous refugee plans should tell Americans (and Congress) that the Obama administration has something to hide about refugees, terrorism, and national security,” Fitton added.

In a press release, Judicial Watch highlighted the Somali refugees or their children who have attempted to join and/or assist ISIS, as well as the $582 million cost to taxpayers to resettle refugees for a year.

Specifically Judicial Watch is seeking:

-All Cooperation Agreements for the years 2014 and 2015 between the Department of State and the voluntary agencies involved in providing reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.

-All Reception and Placement abstracts for the years 2014 and 2015 furnished to the Department of State by voluntary agencies, entities subcontracting to voluntary agencies, or entities affiliated with voluntary agencies regarding the provision of reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.

-All transcripts of hearings held in 2014 and 2015 by the Department of State with representatives from voluntary agencies, entities subcontracting to voluntary agencies, entities affiliated with voluntary agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services, and/or the Office of Refugee Settlement regarding the provision of reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.

-All comments submitted to the State Department by members of the public at the hearings identified in Bullet 3 above.

-All records reflecting the number of refugees, their countries of origin, and destinations in the United States in which they were settled by the Bureau of  Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) through R&P programs for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015.

-All records regarding a meeting held on August 25, 2015 in Spartanburg, South Carolina between representatives from the State Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement and/or Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and representatives from the non-profit organization known as World Relief. Records sought shall include, but not be limited to, notices of the meeting, meeting agenda, transcripts, recordings, materials presented by World Relief, multimedia presentations, abstracts, contracts and any other materials.

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