Vetting Syrian Refugees



One of the talking points of the Obama administration and Mark Shea, judging from some hysterical rantings on his blog, is that Syrian refugees are thoroughly vetted before they would arrive in this nation.  Aside from the customary incompetence of the Obama administration, ObamaCare ring a bell?, just what does this vetting process accomplish in ensuring that the refugees we admit are not dangerous?  Not much apparently.


The director of Homeland Security had no answer when asked if the “vetting” process amounted to anything more than asking refugees to fill out an application, asking them a few questions in a verbal interview, and assuming they answer honestly. The best Director Jeh Johnson could offer were vague assurances that the “tight-knit, supportive communities” they settle into would “embrace” these refugees.

FBI Director James Comey famously admitted last month that the U.S. government has no real way to conduct background checks on refugees. “We can only query against that which we have collected. And so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them,” Comey explained, quite sensibly.

He contrasted this lack of solid information with the screening of Iraqi refugees after the war: “With respect with Iraqi databases, we had far more because of our country’s work there for a decade. This is a different situation.”

It should be noted, however, that even the vastly superior security situation for Iraqi refugees was not sufficient to prevent some hair-raising mistakes. In 2013, for example, ABC News reported on several dozen suspected terrorist bomb-makers admitted to the United States as refugees, including a pair of Iraqi al-Qaeda insurgents living in Kentucky who admitted attacking American soldiers in Iraq.

What was the Obama Administration’s response to the discovery of those bombers living in Kentucky? The State Department stopped processing Iraqi refugees for six months… the very same measure Obama now insults skeptics for recommending with respect to the Syrians. One Iraqi who assisted American troops during the war was assassinated while awaiting delayed approval of his refugee application.

Go here to read the rest.  Anyone who has viewed the chaotic scenes coming from Europe should realize that in the Syrian situation the phrase “careful vetting” of refugees is rubbish.  Of course this matters not to the Obama administration or Catholic Social Justice Warriors who have other agendas much more dear and near to their heart at play than the safety of the American people. In a nation where millions of illegal aliens simply overstay their original visas without any repercussions from law enforcement, the claim that the Syrian refugees could not pose a major security risk once they are here is simply farcial since the monitoring of them will likewise be farcial.  All the hysterical polemics and virtue signaling in the world won’t change these facts.


Mark Shea, Crisis Magazine, October 10, 2009


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  1. For our post-moderns, it is not about truth to be pursued and lived but the idea that is to be achieved. In this case the idea is that American society must be changed from a primarily Western one (inherently evil to them) to a multi-cultural mush in which nothing is true and all relative. This furthers a second goal of undermining the American political system by ever greater expansion of the Federal Government through ever-expanding “Social Justice” programs.

    Unfortunately, many of our co-religionists no longer believe in the truth either but are obsessed with this idea. This appears to be so even for may clerics – priests, bishops, cardinals and perhaps even a Pope. It is unfortunate that a soul like Mark has given into ideology over truth. But remember Mark, it is only the Truth that sets free. And all truth participates in the Truth. To place ideology over what is true is to create a god of your ideology.

  2. “Who’d thunk I’d ever read something by Mark Shea that I actually liked and agreed with?” Ah Elizabeth, that was Mark Shea then, not Mark Shea now.

  3. @Stephen: Aha. I hadn’t had enough of my morning caffeine when I read this post, I guess. Didn’t notice the important date of when Shea said those words at the end of this piece. Silly me. Thanks for the tip. I clicked on the link to the Patheos recent article. Now this all makes sense! 🙂

  4. I don’t understand where the notion was conceived that the US has some kind of moral imperative to take these, or any “refugees.” There is no moral command in Scripture or Tradition that I’m aware of, which states that if we, of all the nations of the world, do not take this particular group of “refugees,” then we’re horrible sinners and worse than Herod.

    And when I see this:

    –the Saudi air conditionedtent city that could house millions of refugees at Mecca…

    It makes me really wonder if we’re not just being played like a violin.

  5. I love how this post ends with Mark Shea’s own words. I remember reading the article when it came out and it was spot on. What happened to him? He used to make sense.

    My question for the administration is why are you pushing Christians to the back of the line? I’d obviously prefer they get preferential entry, but we know that’s asking too much.

  6. What happened to him? He used to make sense.

    At some point he began wholly accepting the Left’s memes and ideas without question and, given that they always run up against reality sooner or later, is now struggling to reconcile the contradictions.

    Though something about the refugees (and the France attacks) really seems to have made him snap as he’s practically a lunatic now who can conceptualize the humanity of terrorists, but not his own countrymen who disagree with him.

    The commentator, Joseph nailed it:

    I think I may start listening to you once your community starts taking in refugees and you help lead the charge. Until then, you’re just another white, middle-class, comfortable internet social warrior slamming your keyboard up and down to feel good about yourself while not actually doing anything about it.

    And he’s absolutely right. My parents and hometown church really did start reaching out and helping Burmese refugees that were coming to town, doing everything just short of inviting them into the house (though they’ve visited and come over quite often). That’s one compromise I would be totally ok with: refugees must have sponsors to come here (and those sponsors have some measure of responsibility to them). Until Shea is housing as many of those little five-year old orphans as he can under his own roof, he can just shut up about how moral other people are.

  7. Again, given that the UNHCR census has it that there are 3,000,000 ‘refugees’ resident in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, we need to ask why BO is so intent on having 10,000 refugees here and why Gwen Ifill et al are cranking up the propaganda for the Administration. The amount you’re going to spend on refugee resettlement in Houston will go a lot longer building proper waste disposal in Jordan and Turkey. What is the ulterior motive here?

  8. What happened to him? He used to make sense.

    His writing was at one time satisfactory – when he had an editor like Brian St. Paul. His unfiltered blog was always strewn with dismaying little doots and he was given to bizarre intemperate asides. It was remarked nearly a decade ago that Jimmy Akin and the others at Catholic Answers seemed unwilling to keep him in bounds, Brian St. Paul now writes ad copy for a commercial company in Baltimore, and Shea’s burned his bridges to Crisis (though is still on the contributor list at several other Catholic publications). My mother’d have told you that one manifestation of aging is that you turn into a caricature of yourself. Mark P. Shea has just had 13 more years to do that.

  9. This kind of reminds me of the “summer and drowning” correlation. True, summer does not “cause” drowning. But there is a rather marked correlation between warmer weather and increased drownings for the common sense reason that more people hit the beach, lakes and pools during warmer weather. Thus, a prudent mayor of a coastal city would increase the ranks of lifeguards along the beach, etc. during the warmer months. Likewise, there is a rather marked correlation between being Muslim and carrying out terrorist attacks, even if one agrees Islam itself is a religion of peace, blah blah blah. Thus, a prudent administration would be wary of allowing in unvettable muslims en masse.

  10. What is the ulterior motive here?

    The smart money is on, well, money. Somehow tax money is getting laundered redistributed to Democrat constituencies who in turn kick back donate to Democrat politicians.

  11. Another ulterior motive (I heard from Rush Limbaugh) for making background checks on 10,000 Muslim “refugees” a existential, national crisis is that the democrat-operatives-with-bylines (a.k.a. Obama-worshiping liars) 24/7 need to divert people’s attention from Obama’s constant policy failures and asinine commentaries.

  12. We might consider that, for whatever the reason, and I will settle for excessive ideological zeal, the the current “President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, and should be removed from his office. I know, “Thoughts of a dry brain in a dry season”.

  13. In light of the regime’s actions, I recommend carrying combat-style first aid kits, especially including tourniquets, and learning how to apply.

  14. U.S. Bishops say they don’t vet any migrants, the gov’t. does — but they take gov’t $$$ to “assist” them.

    The church’s response is focused on people in need of food, shelter and safety and not their particular faith, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,told reporters Nov. 16 during a midday break at the bishops’ annual fall general assembly.

    “We at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic Charities, we are always open to helping families who come into the United States in need of help,” he said at a news conference. “We have that tradition of doing it and we’re going to contribute.”

    Archbishop Kurtz explained that any assistance provided to refugees and immigrants is carried out under government contracts and that the vetting of newcomers will have been completed by government agencies long before church agencies become involved.

  15. More local (DFW) caca — Oh yes, Dallas is a sanctuary city.

    citing the bishops —> “Dallas’s Catholic Charities Accepts then Rejects Gov.’s Syrian Edict”


    “Dallas Mayor: ‘Young White Men’ Scare Me More Than Middle Eastern Refugees”

  16. Part Trois —

    Irving clock bomb boy sues for $15 million

    I graduated from the University of Dallas in Irving. The school’s mascot is the Crusaders. I’m wondering how long it will take clock-bomb-boy and his family to try to change that.

    P.S. Thanks for NOT ignoring Thanksgiving on your website. I like your site because it is The AMERICAN Catholic… : ) I drop in every once in awhile — sometimes via or

  17. To arguments that compare potential Syrian arrivals to those who over-stay visas, or to tourists, and so on, I say heed the warnings of the times and changing dynamics. There is an increase of jihadist activity world-wide. It may be protective of their captured territory to start trouble everywhere else they can. Take pronouncements of hitting Washington and Rome, as serious threats against their perceived enemies. It is said that it costs twelve times as much to bring a refugee here as to protect them in local safe-zones. Therefore, if for every one brought here, eleven others are abandoned, what is the point of doing so?

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