I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of immigrants, being a chronic one myself, but there should be zero exemptions to America's already-suspect antiterrorism safeguards, let alone for anyone who's had contact with someone considered even a remote threat to national security. However, Groom testified that there have been more than 16,000 refugee exemptions issued to date by Homeland Security and the State Department, and that the Obama administration is looking to apply the same framework to Syrian refugees. How many of them, exactly? "Several thousand" by the end of the year, according to State Department Assistant Secretary Anne Richard. The United Nations is trying to resettle an estimated 30,000 Syrian refugees in other countries by the end of 2014.
The potential for domestic terrorism isn't the only concern. Former President Bill Clinton's administration brought large numbers of Somali refugees to the United States in the mid-'90s to help them escape Somalia's civil war. Since then, America has continued to welcome thousands of Somali refugees every year. According to the FBI's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, Somali gangs "involved in drug and weapons trafficking, human trafficking, credit card fraud, prostitution and violent crime" are active in Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Diego and Seattle, and present in "at least 30 jurisdictions."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported in September that the federal government is now "engaging in an aggressive effort to deport Somali immigrants who run afoul of U.S. law," with 3,100 receiving deportation orders since 2001.
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, expressed concern over these poor dears potentially having to return to a place inhabited by terror groups such as Somalia-based Al-Shabaab, which was responsible for the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, last year. Ellison shouldn't worry too much, though: Kenya has been liquidating dozens of Al-Shabaab members with airstrikes in recent weeks. It's just a matter of time before deported criminal refugees can feel safe again.
If the situation remains dangerous, maybe the U.S. government will start importing Al-Shabaab refugees. After all, who's to say that they weren't just hanging out at Westgate Mall, buying some new threads and chilling with a Coke, when suddenly firearms dropped into their hands?