Last year FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson admitted during congressional testimony the United States does not have the ability to properly vet refugees coming into the country from terrorism hot spots like Iraq and Syria.
Despite this uncomfortable fact, the Obama administration has maintained that the U.S. refugee screening system is extensive, taking two years and a number of background checks with thorough vetting before an individual is granted refugee status or asylum in America. The administration vowed to bring in at least 10,000 new Syrian refugees in 2016.
"The United States, at the direction of the United States, has played a leading role in addressing the dire humanitarian crisis in the Middle East and North Africa," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced in September. "One thing that the United States can do is to begin to let more Syrian refugees into the United States. This year, this fiscal year that will end this month, the United States is on track to take in about 1500 Syrian refugees. The president has directed his team to scale up that number next year and he's informed his team he would like them to accept, at least make preparations, for 10,000 refugees."
Now, the administration is changing it's position and a report from the Free Beacon's Adam Kredo shows President Obama is pushing for refugee screening time to be reduced to just three months.
An Obama administration plan to resettle a greater number of foreign refugees in the United States by expediting the screening process is drawing concern from Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are warning that the administration is not capable of properly screening these individuals for ties to terrorism.
The Obama administration has committed to bring at least 10,000 Syrian refugees onto American soil in fiscal year 2016 by accelerating security screening procedures from 18-24 months to around three months, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Obama administration officials told the Free Beacon that they remain committed to the plan, despite warnings from the FBI and other law enforcement officials who say the federal government is not equipped to properly vet these individuals within that timeframe.
ISIS leaders and propagandists have repeatedly stated the terror organization is exploiting the unorganized, unvetted refugee stream to send fighters into Europe and the United States. They're recruiting people to their cause in European refugee camps. At least one of the Paris attackers posed as a refugee in order to get into France on a fake passport before killing 129 people.
House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul called on the Obama administration to suspend refugee plans months ago and long before this recent development.
"Leaders from the FBI, National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have repeatedly indicated to my Committee that we lack the on-the-ground intelligence necessary to thoroughly vet Syrian refugees seeking to resettle here," McCaul wrote in a letter to President Obama in November. "I call on you to temporarily suspend the admission of all additional Syrian refugees into the United States pending a full review of the Syrian refugee resettlement program."
"Our nation has a proud tradition of welcoming refugees into our country, but in this particular car the high-threat environment demands that we move forward with great caution in order to protect the American people and to prevent terrorists from reaching our shores," McCaul continued.
The FBI and Homeland Security refugee vetting systems continue to have major gaps.