- The Washington Times - Friday, June 3, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Americans have a right to question our government’s ability to screen and vet immigrants and refugees coming into the country. For real gaps exist, which can pose severe security risks to our country.

Take for example, Yusuf Abdi Ali, an accused war criminal from Somalia, now living in the U.S. and working as a security guard at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. A simple Google search on Mr. Ali would have turned up the atrocities he is accused of committing during Somalia’s bloody civil war.

So what did Mr. Ali allegedly do? According to a human rights group which filed a lawsuit against him, Mr. Ali is accused of personally overseeing torture, as well as being a torturer.

“He arrested people, stole their stuff, burned villages, executed masses of people,” Kathy Roberts, an attorney for the Center for Justice and Accountability, which is leading the suit against him, told CNN. “At one point he had a school come out to view an execution.”

A CNN investigation found that Mr. Ali has been “living a normal suburban life just outside of the nation’s capital, in Alexandria, Virginia. He shares an apartment with his wife and works as a security guard at one of the busiest airports in the country.”

According to CNN, Mr. Ali passed a “full, federally mandated vetting process” for his position at the airport, that included a background check and a TSA assessment.

Mr. Ali entered the U.S. on a visa through his wife, who claimed she was a Somalian refugee and given U.S. citizenship. The reason I write “claimed” is that Mr. Ali’s wife in 2006 was found guilty of naturalization fraud. She told U.S. screeners she was from the very Somali clan that Mr. Ali has been accused of torturing, which was found to be untrue.

That’s scary and should give all of us pause.

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock issued a statement on Wednesday, requesting a full, in-person briefing from the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials told CNN that Mr. Ali was known to them, but wouldn’t tell the news agency why Mr. Ali was allowed to stay in the country, let alone work a security job at an airport.

Just last month, the State Department set a single-day record for Syrian refugee approvals, with government officials telling the press they’re moving faster because they’re getting better at screening.

That’s nonsense.

The State Department is hurrying the process so President Obama tries to meet his target of 10,000 approvals this year. Security experts and the U.S. public alike should be concerned that the president is trying to cut corners to achieve his own political goal.

I’m not saying refugees shouldn’t be allowed into this country for safe-haven — but they should be thoroughly vetted, especially coming from war-torn countries like Syria and Somalia.

And the issue shouldn’t be political, like the Democrats have forced it to become. It’s just common sense.

We should be questioning our government, which has repeatedly shown its deficiencies (whether it be at the DMV, IRS, or in this case, with Mr. Ali) on its ability to vet these refugees. And we should all, collectively want, the highest standards of vetting possible.

That is why, when the House voted overwhelmingly to tighten screening procedures on refugees from Syria, I applauded it.

It was painted as political, however, with the president threatening a veto immediately, and the press dubbing the measure “drastic” with Republicans “seizing on” the Americans’ “creeping fear” of terrorism. Senate Democrats blocked the bill from advancing and at the same time cast the GOP as fear-mongering, compassionate bigots.

Is it so crazy to require that the director of the FBI, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and the director of national intelligence confirm that each applicant from Syria and Iraq poses no threat to the U.S.?

Perhaps then there would be some accountability in the system. Which today, feels like there’s none.


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