Syrian refugees “are less of a threat to the country,” a Department of State official told a congressional subcommittee Thursday, but then admitted they aren’t tracked after three months.
Rep. Lamar Smith asked State Department Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard if Syrian refugees are a threat to the United States’ safety.
“Syrians are less of a threat to the country,” than other refugees, Richard told the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, chaired by South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy. “I’m very worried about terrorists. I think we should prevent terrorists coming from the United States. I think the odds of a refugee being a terrorist is very very small.”
But the Texas Republican disputed her claim.
“You don’t have the data to make that determination,” Smith said.
He reminded Richard that FBI Director James Comey told Congress Oct. 21 there isn’t enough data to properly screen Syrian refugees.
“If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interest reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing showing up because we have no record of them,” Comey told the House Committee on Homeland Security on Oct. 21.
Richard said the refugee vetting process uses databases that are not used by the FBI.
“We’re happy to … go into the point that the FBI holding could only tell you a limited amount of information,” she said. “That’s why we have to use many more databases, many more techniques to get the whole story.”
Refugees are also subject to a series of interviews.
Even with that series of interviews, the vetting process is far from flawless, The Daily Caller News Foundation previously reported.
But, Richard admitted refugees aren’t tracked after they’ve been in the U.S. for three months.
Refugees “are pretty much treated like ordinary Americans and they are not tracked,” she said. “As far as I know, none of the refugees have been arrested.”
Federal officials rely on local law enforcement to report when refugees are arrested.
At least one Syrian refugee went missing and was later found in Washington, D.C., TheDCNF reported Tuesday.
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