Obama Admin Open to Parole for Certain Syrian Nationals

AP Photo/Bilal Hussein

The Obama administration says it may reconsider the use of parole for certain Syrian nationals in addition to its Syrian refugee resettlement effort.

In written responses to Senate Judiciary Immigration and the National Interest Subcommittee Republicans obtained by Breitbart News, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reveal that the U.S.’s effort to resettle thousands of Syrian refugees might not be the only process it will use to bring displaced Syrians to the U.S.

“At the request of more than 70 members of Congress in 2013, USCIS considered whether to establish a parole program for Syrians in Syria but decided that establishing such a program was not warranted. However, as the situation continues to evolve and USCIS continues to engage with stakeholders, USCIS may reconsider the use of parole for certain Syrian nationals,” USCIS wrote in its response to the subcommittee’s question probing whether USCIS is considering a parole program for Syrians.

The State Department has estimated that by the end of FY 2015 the U.S. will have admitted between 1,000-2,000 Syrian refugees. Parole for Syrians, if used, would supplement the refugee resettlement effort.

Parole is an immigration benefit that is intended to be imparted on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit” for those foreigners who would otherwise be ineligible for entry. It is intended to be a temporary admission, and parolees are expected to depart the U.S. once the reasons for their parole have ended.

The refugee resettlement effort has already been a cause of concern for those worried about threats to national security. House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), for example, has been sounding the alarm about the potential for foreign fighters to infiltrate the resettlement process.

“We are increasingly concerned by the decision to accelerate the resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees here in the United States despite the serious national security implications of doing so,” McCaul wrote in a letter to President Obama in June.

“There is a real risk that individuals associated with terrorist groups will attempt to exploit the refugee resettlement program in order to gain entry into our country. Terrorist networks are constantly probing our defenses and would not hesitate to manipulate a program meant to save those fleeing violence for the purpose of infiltrating operatives onto American soil,” he wrote, noting that current screening processes are vulnerable due to a lack of information.

National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council President Kenneth Palinkas has also raised national security concerns about the current immigration adjudication process, calling USCIS officers “the world’s rubber-stamp for entry into the United States – regardless of the ramifications of the constant violations to the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

“Whether it’s the failure to uphold the public charge laws, the abuse of our asylum procedures, the admission of Islamist radicals, or visas for health risks, the taxpayers are being fleeced and public safety is being endangered on a daily basis,” the USCIS union head said last year.

Indeed as USCIS recently revealed to the immigration subcommittee, the administration granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status to at least six applicants flagged as “possible national security” risks.


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