From Washington Examiner
President Obama on Tuesday will lead a special summit on the need to take in Syrian refugees, just days after weekend terrorist attacks that are raising more questions about whether the U.S. should be cracking down on immigration instead of opening the doors further.
Plans for Obama to lead the summit were months in the making, long before Ahmad Khan Rahami allegedly planted a pressure cooker bomb in New York that detonated, injuring 29 people. Rahami, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan, is also thought to be responsible for bombs discovered in New Jersey.
The incident puts real pressure on Obama to make the case for taking in thousands of additional refugees, in the face of calls from Donald Trump and other Republican critics who say it’s time to tighten the rules, not ease them. Obama’s critics say the timing couldn’t be worse.
“The timing of the summit just reinforces the idea that we need to get a handle on our refugee program,” Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, told the Washington Examiner. “There is a clear and present danger posed to our national security by these poorly vetted refugees that are pouring in, and the president continues to double down on his intentions to bring in more and more of the individuals from hot spots like Syria.”
Babin last week wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., urging him to include provisions in the continuing resolution to fund the government that would place a moratorium on refugees coming from terrorist hotbeds in Syria, the Middle East and North Africa. Thirty-seven House GOP colleagues signed onto the letter.
The Texas Republican said his effort to put a halt to the admission of the refugees is even more important after this weekend’s terrorist attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota.
“The people of the United States and of Western Europe are getting very weary about the politically correct pressure that is being brought to bear by Obama and the U.N. to take in people,” including those that top U.S. national security officials have said we “cannot properly vet.”
FBI Director James Comey, Department of Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson and Director of National Security James Clapper have each testified to Congress over the last year that they couldn’t certify that every single refugee admitted into the United States was not a security threat.
Those officials have all testified before several congressional panels about the challenges and information gaps that exist when screening refugees and have emphasized that there is no risk-free process. Comey, however, specifically has said the State Department and other agencies have “dramatically” improved the process over the past few years, and over the past few months, when it comes to Syrian refugees.
Holding Obama’s U.N. summit meeting just after the weekend terrorist bombings is also causing headaches for Hillary Clinton, who has called for increasing U.S. admissions of Syrian refugees to 65,000. Her opponent has taken full advantage.
Just hours after the Rahami was arrested, Trump blasted Clinton for supporting policies like the admission of Syrian refugees, which he said would allow radical Islamic groups to “continue their savagery and murder.”
The Republican presidential nominee and other GOP critics have also assailed the Obama administration over a new Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report that said the agency mistakenly granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants from countries deemed to pose security concerns to the U.S.
“We need to get smart and get tough fast so that this weekend’s attacks do not become the new normal here as it has in Europe and other parts of the world,” Trump said in a statement Monday.
Christian Whiton, a former senior State Department adviser in the George W. Bush administration, said Obama’s and Clinton’s insistence on pushing for the admission of more Syrian refugees is playing into Trump’s hands in the final weeks of the election.
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