With two days remaining in Fiscal Year 2016, the Obama administration has brought in 12,571 Syrian refugees, far exceeding its original stated goal of 10,000 for the year.
The outgoing Obama administration is pressing ahead, despite polls that show a vast majority of voters oppose increasing the number of Syrian refugees, by rushing in 1,831 Syrian refugees during the month of September, according to the Department of State’s interactive website. If the Obama administration continues to bring Syrian refugees at that rate each month in Fiscal Year 2017, which begins on Saturday, the total number of arrivals from that war torn country would exceed 21,000.
More than 99 percent of these Syrian refugees (12,470 of 12,571) are Muslim. Less than 1 percent (101 of 12,571) are Christians or other faiths.
One official working for one of the politically powerful resettlement agencies who receive more than $1 billion annually from the federal government to resettle refugees recently said he expects the Obama administration will bring between 20,000 and 30,000 Syrian refugees in to the United States in FY 2017.
News of the increase in Syrian refugees comes one day after an Obama administration official testified before Congress that, “We anticipate that [the number of Syrian refugees arriving in FY 2017] will be above 12,500 but I don’t have a number other than that.”
Another official admitted to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) at the same Senate hearing that there is no reliable security data base for vetting Syrian refugees, and that Obama administration officials have merely been relying upon the word of arriving refugees that they are not terrorists.
According to a statement released by Cruz’s office:
While questioning State Department Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Director León Rodríguez, and Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Carey, Sen. Cruz specifically noted that the administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism has prevented Christian refugees from the Middle East from escaping the genocide of ISIS and has also seriously undermined counterterrorism efforts in the United States.
Moreover, during an exchange with Sen. Cruz, Director Rodríguez acknowledged publicly that refugee applications can be approved based solely on the applicant’s testimony, without any documentation.
Sen. Cruz: Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?
Director Rodríguez: There are cases where the testimony is not necessarily corroborated by documents…I am acknowledging that, yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee.
President Obama will remain in office for only the first three and a half months of Fiscal Year 2017.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said that if she is elected she will increase the number of arriving Syrian refugees from 10,000 annually to 65,000 each year.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has said he wants to reduce the number of refugees arriving overall, and specifically pause the arrival of any Syrian refugees.
On Wednesday, Congress passed a stop gap spending measure that will keep the federal government operating from October 1 to December 9. It was not immediately clear what funding level is included in that temporary spending measure for arriving refugees.
In FY 2015, 70,000 refugees arrived. In FY 2016 to date, a total of 84,870 refugees have arrived — a total of 12,516 in September. At that run rate, more than 145,000 refugees will arrive in the United States in FY 2017.
The Obama administration has proposed allowing 110,000 refugees to enter the United States in FY 2017, while resettlement agencies have lobbied for 200,000.
The top ten states for Syrian refugee arrivals in FY 2016 to date, according to the Department of State’s interactive website are:
California – 1,438
Michigan – 1,374
Texas – 912
Arizona – 833
Pennsylvania – 745
Illinois – 727
Florida – 642
New York – 637
North Carolina – 603
Ohio – 504
Oakland County, Michigan received 481 Syrian refugees in FY 2016, more than 40 states.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has said he intends to sue the federal government to stop the resettlement of refugees in the county on the grounds that it has failed to comply with the consultation clause of the Refugee Act of 1980.