State Dept. Official: Syrian Refugees ‘Less of a Threat,’ Stops Tracking After 3 Months

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The government stops tracking refugees in the U.S. after three months and Syrian refugees to the Middle East will receive no additional tracking, State Department official Anne Richard testified before a House panel Thursday.

“We do not track them after the first three months in the United States,” Richard testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security when asked by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) if any of the nearly 2,000 Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. so far have been arrested.

Richard said that while they do not track Syrian refugees she had not heard of any arrests to date. She further elaborated to Smith that Syrian refugees will be not be treated differently than any other refugee once in the U.S.

“They are treated pretty much like ordinary Americans and they are not tracked,” she said.

Richard further argued that Syrian refugees represent “less of a threat” than other refugees.

“Syrians are less of a threat, actually, because they have fled their country, they voted with their feet,” she said.

Smith took issue with Richard’s claim that Syrians are less of a threat in light of recent testimony by FBI Director James Comey, who has highlighted the lack of data available to fully vet the refugees from Syria.

“My point is that Syrian refugees have been outside their country,” Richard responded. “So we know what they have been up to and there’s a record of the time they have spent outside their country.”

The Texas lawmaker expressed incredulity at Richard’s claim pointing out that while the Syrian refugees “may not have a record of terrorism, they may be would-be terrorists they may be terrorists-in-training. Terrorists organizations have already said said they will use the refugee program to try to infiltrate the United States. And you say you are less worried about Syrian refugees than other refugees?”

Richard responded that she is concerned about terrorists.