What to Do with Syrian and other Refugees?

Social media is deluged daily with pleas to admit unlimited numbers of Syrian refugees. There are claims that it will require 18 months to vet them and that somehow, there will be databases of fingerprints, backgrounds, and everyone will have passports with which to judge them.  Even in the unlikely event that those wishing to enter the US have papers, we have seen the real threats have had false passport from Greece. An Italian Mafia operation is producing passports that even have biometrics and sell for as much as $30,000. One suspected purveyor of these documents is under investigation in Switzerland. Too many are willing to sell out their fellow countrymen for money or feel that where they live will be safe. Our own FBI and those in intelligence say openly that we cannot vet these people. These sophisticated false papers are an additional problem we haven’t even faced yet.

President Obama never mentions these problems. He talks constantly about three-year-olds. Photos of one child in particular shown laying face down in the surf repeatedly makes the rounds of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  This is the image from The Big Lie that the refugees are somehow all babes in arms. The truth is that over 70% of refuges that have entered Europe are single young men of fighting age. It is also true that ISIS has long advertised that it would send in both fighters and recruiters with the refugees. Recent discussions with the refugees themselves confirm that recruiters work on the Syrians even while they are on the small boats trying to get to land.

We have had multiple warnings, which many in government blithely have ignored. If it continues it will bring violence, and more, to our shores. In May, a Libyan government adviser warned that Islamic State operatives were being “smuggled to Europe in migrant boats.” Nor are all the immigrants really Syrian. According to both EU intelligence services and reporters in Southern Europe, groups of men, 17 to 25, from Palestine, Yemen, Syria and other countries, cross into Bulgaria and from there move into the rest of the EU with legitimate refugees. A former Al Qaeda double agent told the BBC that he knew of two Egyptian brothers who reached Italy from Libya, accompanied by men who were “deeply religious and fluent in Italian and French.” I could go on citing a reporter who was approached by recruiters when he was on a refugee boat; ISIS tweets and YouTube videos calling on refugees to strike and saying they were sending soldiers.

Europe is not the only target and the US has been warned as well as the EU. On November 18 Honduran authorities intercepted six Syrian nationals traveling on doctored Greek passports in the past week, including five who were trying to reach the United States. These are not poor immigrants. It costs a fair amount to fly from Europe to Central America and then travel to the US to infiltrate through the porous southern border.  We now have proof that ISIS, and their minions, use cyber-currency and other ways to hide the source of their funds. These ambassadors of hate and fear are well funded. Undersecretary of the Treasury, David Cohen, says that ISIS has captured more territory and resources than many recognized countries. According to the Rand Corporation, the Islamic State’s total revenue rose from a little less than $1 million per month in late 2008 and early 2009 to perhaps $1 million to $3 million per day in 2014.

Jihad fighters engender the most fear, but it is possible, in fact probable, that the goal of some immigrants is not physical terrorism but hijrah. Hijrah is jihad by emigration.  It means moving to a new land in order to bring Islam there and eventually take over. In Islam it is considered to be a holy and revered action. The Quran says, “And whoever emigrates for the cause of Allah will find on the earth many locations and abundance, and whoever leaves his home as an emigrant to Allah and His Messenger and then death overtakes him, his reward has already become incumbent upon Allah.”(4:100)

This current massive hijrah was announced last January although few paid attention. A document in Arabic was circulated on the internet that urged Muslims to get to Libya as a way to enter southern Europe.  It also noted the important tactical value to facilitate infiltration of European cities saying ” (Libya) has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat”. The same is being done from Morocco with Muslims flowing into Spain.

The attempt to control US policy and our government has already begun. There are over a dozen Muslims with connections to fundamentalist Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in major power positions with both President Barak Obama and Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Perhaps that is the reason only 5 Syrian Christians have been admitted to the US since October. Christians make up 10 percent of Syrian population, 1.6 percent of refugees accepted. Since January, 1,875 Syrians have arrived on American soil; only 30 (1.6 percent) of them were Christian, compared to 1,833 Muslims (97.8 percent). Yet, persecuted minorities should have precedence when we take in any humanitarian situation. The administration is moving to classify some Islamic State targets as victims of genocide – a designation that would increase the chances of asylum. Investigative reporter Michael Isikoff, who has been a reporter for both Newsweek and NBC, reported that the administration seeking such a designation is unlikely for Christians.

The primary cry of these people is that children are no threat. That we are admitting babies. Hillary Clinton said, “Turning away orphans, applying a religious test, discriminating against Muslims, slamming the door on every Syrian refugee—that is just not who we are.”  I ask what is a child? Is she talking about the 18-year-old MS13 gang members that came in with the push that allowed them to cross the Southern border because they were “children.”

The total number of child soldiers involved in the war in the Middle East is unknown. Around 200 child soldiers have been confirmed killed in action by human rights groups over the past four years and, they say, the real number is likely far higher. Moreover, younger adolescents (ages of 13 to 17), usually males, may be employed as spies, guards, or smugglers. Human rights groups say that even 14- and 15-year-old combatants are not unknown in rebel-held areas.


So, what do we do? Obviously there are those that need help and most of the people are true refugees fleeing terror themselves.

1.  We can look to the past. After WWII the US brought in orphans from Europe – not 18-year-olds that had been radicalized, were gang members or possibly NAZI youth. The US brought in children under ten; most of them under 5. The children were placed with American families and those families given support services. If, in fact, there are those tens of thousands of real orphans from Syria Americans would surely open their hearts and their homes to them just as we did for both WWII and Vietnam.

2. Let’s reverse the current statistic and increase the number of Christians we admit. It is ludicrous to say Christians are not an endangered minority. Not only are their lives under threat, they are murdered in the most gruesome ways possible. Women and young girls are raped to death, drowned in a cage, stoned while buried in dirt up to their armpits. Men and young boys loose body parts before they are crucified or beheaded. To say Christians are not a persecuted minority is to ignore the evidence of one’s own eyes. They should be admitted in a larger numbers then their 10% in the region instead of the less than 2% having been already admitted. More than being persecuted it would be easier to vet Christians by having others who know them personally vouch for them. It is at least one way to confirm someone’s identity. They are also unlikely to have the false papers and money those being sent by ISIS will have.

3. We should encourage countries in the Middle East to take these people and help them with money and physical aid. Most real refuges want to go home. Obviously once their needs are met, people will be more comfortable in the cultures most like their own. After all, they have not chosen to leave their homes; they were not seeking to move to the West.

4. We can look at the elderly and women. While not perfect, they are less likely to be a danger to the nation. Full families of two, and especially three, generations are more likely to be low risk. These kinds of groups are slower to assimilate into the larger culture, but are less likely to commit violent acts.

5. We need to close our Southern border. Border Patrol agents have reported non-Hispanics sneaking across the border for years. We know that Iran has funded and equipped Mexican gangs. Now we have evidence that ISIS is trying to infiltrate a border that is so porous that Raj Peter Bhakta crossed the Rio Grande river riding an elephant and accompanied by a Mariachi band. The only US agency to respond was the Department of Agriculture that sprayed the elephants for ticks. If one is thinking rationally, not emotionally, that border fence so often discussed would be a real bulwark against terror.

6. And just as important as the concern for terrorism, is the number of people being admitted. France already had a 16% Muslim population in Paris before the current influx. Hijrah has come to Paris. Before the current terror attack there were areas completely closed off to even police and sharia courts dealt out justice. If we are to maintain our Western culture and laws the number of individuals admitted should be a consideration.

Yes, we can and should be generous, but that doesn’t mean we should act the fools. We know a good percentage of those seeking asylum aren’t even Syrian and that ISIS says they are using the situation to infiltrate Western nations. There are things we can do to minimize the chances for our taking in terrorists or becoming victims of hijrah. But we MUST take action now.

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I'm a Lebanese American physical commodities trader, financier, and author. The President and Chief Executive officer of Blackhawk Partners, Inc., – a “private family office” that supports highly accomplished operating executives in expanding their companies organically through business acquisitions and physical commodities trades (mostly oil derivatives) around the world.