Obama Extends Syrian Migrant Protections Amid Texas Resistance

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The Obama Administration has extended a program to 2018 that allows Syrians — or those who last habitually resided there — to register or re-register for Temporary Protected Status. Officials in Texas continue to resist the effort.

A notice in the Federal Register from August 1st reveals that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson is “extending the designation of the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 18 months, from October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018, and redesignating Syria for TPS for 18 months, effective October 1, 2016 through March 31, 2018.”

“The extension allows TPS beneficiaries to retain TPS through March 31, 2018, so long as they continue to meet the eligibility requirements for TPS,” the notice in the Federal Register provides.

“The redesignation of Syria allows additional individuals who have been continuously residing in the United States since August 1, 2016 to obtain TPS, if otherwise eligible.” Those eligible are current TPS beneficiaries from Syria, and those who do not have TPS designation but are Syrian nationals and persons without nationality who last habitually resided in Syria if they have continuously resided in the U.S. since August 1, 2016, and been continuously physically present in the U.S. since October 1, 2016.

The August 1st notice states that “The Secretary has determined that an extension of the current designation and a redesignation of Syria for TPS are warranted because the ongoing armed conflict and other extraordinary and temporary conditions that prompted the 2015 TPS redesignation have not only persisted, but have deteriorated, and because the ongoing armed conflict in Syria and other extraordinary and temporary conditions would pose a serious threat to the personal safety of Syrian nationals if they were required to return to their country.”

Breitbart Texas reported on June 18th that Texas officials responded firmly to the Obama Administration’s notice that 25 percent more refugees would be placed in Texas than had originally been planned. The planned increase would bring the number of refugees at that point to 11,020. Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State setting out in very clear terms for the federal government that Texas would not agree to increase the number of refugees coming into the Lone Star State. Moreover, guidelines were set to ensure that Texas only accepts refugees who do not pose a danger to Texans.

A statement obtained from the office of Commissioner Smith on August 1st echoed the position taken in mid-June.

Texas will not agree to increase the number of refugees coming into the state, and the 2017 State Plan for the Refugee Program has been written to ensure Texas only accepts refugees who are fully vetted and do not present a security threat.”

Breitbart Texas reported on June 11th that the number of just Syrian refugees in the U.S. had dramatically escalated and the Obama administration created a “resettlement surge center.” This resettlement center was placing 100 Syrian refugees into the U.S. every day in June according to the federal government’s own database from the Refugee Processing Center. More than 1,000 were admitted in May. The rate of those admitted had surged when compared to the 3,755 accepted in fiscal year 2016. The lack of proper vetting of these individuals by the quick processing that is being done poses a real security risk to Americans. Almost all of those being resettled were reported to be Muslims.

“Texas continues to have concerns about the safety of its citizens and the integrity of the overseas security and background vetting process of the federal resettlement program,” Commissioner Smith wrote in his letter in mid-June. “Americans face an undeniable terrorist threat that is imported through new manipulations of our national security protocols each day.”

The Commissioner also noted that “Any increase, would pose a heavy financial burden on communities in Texas.”

The 2017 State Plan was developed to reflect that Texas will only accept refugees who the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and director of National Intelligence can certify to Congress do not pose a security threat to the state.

As reported by Breitbart News, CIA Director John Brennan testified before Congress in mid-June that terrorists are attempting to move their operatives into the U.S. through the refugee resettlement program. “In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda,” Brennan said. The CIA Director warned that ISIS is “training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks.” They already have a “large cadre of Western fighters,” and are looking for ways to get more operatives into America and Europe, “including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.” Brennan also testified that terrorists are “taking advantage of the liberties that we’ve fought so hard to defend” by using social media to recruit their fighters.

After the terrorist attacks in Paris, France in November, Breitbart Texas reported that a video excerpt from an October 2015 House Homeland Security Committee hearing shows the lack of vetting of refugees by the U.S. government. During the hearing on “Worldwide Threats and Homeland Security Challenges,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) asked FBI Director James B. Comey, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson, and Nicholas J. Rasmussen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, about the security risk that refugees pose to Americans.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, the directors of these security and law enforcement organizations acknowledged that the federal government has to essentially take a refugees’ word for the representations they make in their application. Unless a refugee has a criminal history and is a known terrorist threat, U.S. citizens are vulnerable to the unstated and unknown intentions of those refugees.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


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