Andrea Mitchell: ‘2016 Campaign Has Gone To a Very Dark Place’ On Refugees

NBC and MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell argued, “the 2016 campaign has gone to a very dark place” regarding the Syrian refugees during an interview with former USAID Administrator and distinguished fellow at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service Rajiv Shah on Wednesday.

Mitchell said, “the 2016 campaign has gone to a very dark place, from my judgment, in terms of these refugees, and the facts of how we vet refugees.”

Shah then stated, “i think it’s important to know who these refugees are, and i visited with them at Zaatari, in Jordan, and throughout Lebanon. These are primarily women and children, many have lost their — the man in the family to violence inside of Syria. There are 4.2 million refugees. More than 3 million of them are in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, and we work closely with those countries to make sure that they keep their borders open and they welcome those refugees in a safe and supportive manner. As you know, more than 150,000 now, in Europe. And so, for the United States to take 10,000 refugees is certainly consistent with our values, but it’s also a major part of the strategy to make sure all countries do their part, and we do everything we can to support the — all of these refugees, who are in real humanitarian and dire circumstances in and around Syria.”

Mitchell added, “Now, the French prosecutor has said that at least two of the attackers, they believe, did pass on that migration route through a Greek island, and then they can get European documentation. So, that’s not refugee applications, that’s people who can get in through the visa waiver system, if they have European passports.”

Shah responded, “Well, that’s a broader issue related to mobility around the world. For people to criticize refugees specifically, shows a lack of awareness of who these refugees are, and frankly how they’re screened. the united nations has referred more than 23,000 refugees to the united states since the beginning of the syrian crisis, only just over 2,000 have gotten through the screening process and come in. and of that group, precisely zero have been accused of any kind of terrorist activity and had any kind of criminal action taken against them as a result. So, we have a robust system. It’s gotten tougher, in terms of screening for Syrian refugees, but it’s important to recognize, we’re part of a global community, and the challenge of this syrian humanitarian crisis, the largest and most complex humanitarian crisis in history, is something every country has to step up and do its part. America does its part by taking refugees in a safe and protected way, but also providing by billions of dollars of humanitarian assistance so people can have food, schools, health services in and around syria, and we keep the problem as contained to that space as possible.”

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