National Security Advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Colin Kahl said he would “have no problem” with Syrian refugees settling in his neighborhood, and “I think most Americans have no problem” with doing so on Wednesday’s “MSNBC Live.”
Kahl was asked, “I’m going to put a Syrian family on — in your neighbor’s homes on both sides of you, and I’m going to ask your town where you live to take in 100 families, you have no problem?”
He responded, “I have no problem. I think most Americans have no problem. I think that we’ve shown throughout our history that crisis brings out the best in us, not the worst in us, and now is not a time to change that.”
Earlier, Kahl said, “we have stricter vetting of refugees than any other class of traveler to the United States. they go through our Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, our counterterrorism center, through our intelligence community. It takes about a year and a half to get these folks cleared in. So, we’re confident in the security procedures for folks coming to this country.”
He was also asked, “I suppose we also should admit some bad apples and bad actors are probably going to get through the filter?”
Kahl answered, “Well, look, no system is perfect, but this system is pretty comprehensive. Since 9/11, we’ve probably let in something on the neighborhood of 785,000 refugees from across the world, and only about a dozen have actually popped up flags of concern about terrorism. The fast majority of Syrian refugees let into this country, and we’ve let in thousands already, are women and children. Only about 2% are single men. So, the profile of the folks we’re looking at doesn’t really match the vast majority of people who come to this country. And so, when you layer that on top of the fact that we go through this year-and-a-half-long screening process, I think we’re doing all we can to keep the American people safe, while also living up to our values, and welcoming people to our shores who have suffered enormous violence in other parts of the world.
Kahl concluded, “our country was built on immigrants. We’ve welcomed refugees for the entire history of our nation. We’ve taken 3/4 of a million refugees since 9/11, when this concern has been an issue, and so, we just need to push back against the fear, and remember who we are.”
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