Sessions Expresses ‘Severe Concern’ Following Refugee Hearing

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Rachel Stoltzfoos Staff Reporter
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Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions said an oversight hearing he chaired Thursday on the Obama administration’s refugee resettlement plan left him “severely concerned” about the security implications of the plan and its fiscal impact.

“The testimony provided today only further erodes my confidence in our ability to vet Syrian refugees or to control the extraordinary expense imposed on taxpayers,” Sessions said in a statement following the Immigration and the National Interest subcommittee hearing. (RELATED: U.S. Refugee Chief Didn’t Know Boston Bombers Were Refugees)

The administration announced in September the U.S. will resettle an extra 45,000 refugees over the next two years, including a minimum of 10,000 from war-torn Syria. The current cap of 70,000 per year will be lifted to 100,000 per year. The move is in response to the European migrant crisis.

Sessions is concerned the U.S. doesn’t have the resources or the time to properly vet all of those refugees, which could pose a terror threat, and that they could unduly burden taxpayers. He said these eight facts were “established conclusively” by the testimony of four government witnesses in the hearing.

1. The U.S. cannot access any Syrian government database in order to conduct background checks.

2. The U.S. does not have the resources or the records to investigate all the applicants, and “will not conduct any meaningful investigation” of each of them.

3. The administration approves more than 90 percent of all Syrian refugee applications.

4. The U.S. has “no capacity” to determine whether a given Islamist refugee might become radicalized and involved in terrorism after admission to the country.

5. The U.S. already has a “huge problem” with Islamist refugees linking up with terrorists, and the administration’s current resettlement plan will “exacerbate that problem.”

6. Some of the one million migrants from Muslim countries the U.S. plans to admit in the next 10 years will be radicalized before or after they set foot in the U.S. “It is not a probability, but a certainty.”

7. The $1.2 billion budget for the plan is only a “minute fraction” of the total cost, because it does not attempt to measure the cost of welfare, healthcare, retirement benefits and community services the refugees will access.

8. The Heritage Foundation estimates the lifetime cost of benefits is $6.5 billion per 10,000 refugees, and the Office of Refugee Resettlement provided services to about 140,000 newly admitted refugees and related groups.

“Encouraging millions to abandon their homes in the Middle East only further destabilizes the region, while imposing enormous costs on an American public that is struggling with low pay, rising crime, high deficits, and overstretched community resources,” Sessions said.

The hearing was the first on refugee resettlement in 16 years.

Although the U.S. makes up less than 5 percent of the global population, it takes in one in five of the world’s migrants. The next closest country takes in fewer than 1 in 20. (RELATED: US Has Half The Population, SIX TIMES The Population)

Each year the U.S. gives one million immigrants permanent legal status. The foreign-born population hit an all-time high in 2014 and is on track to break every historical record in the next 50 years. (RELATED: 1965 Immigration Law Exploded Foreign-Born Population)

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