This past Friday newly elected President Donald Trump signed another Executive Order adding to the number of orders he has already signed into effect. This new executive order focuses on the movements of non-Americans from seven countries. Ironically the seven countries that were placed on a travel ban to the United States all possess a dominant Muslim population. The reasoning behind this travel ban is to protect the American public from a terrorist attack executed by a refugee let in to the country.
The issue is that the administration must not have an understanding of how difficult the vetting process is for a refugee-seeking asylum from a war-torn country. In a Time’s article titled This is How The Syrian Refugee Process Works the author points out that the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) refers the individual or family to begin the interview process. Once selected for the interview process the applicant is vetted through not only the United Nations but also by multiple government agencies of the host nation that the applicant will be referred to.
A Syrian refugee who went through the vetting process explained how his process with his family took 15 months. And during that time he interviewed with multiple government agencies including the United Nations, F.B.I, State Department, National Counterterrorism Center, and the Department of Homeland Security. As the agencies interview applicants for refugee status and a new location to call home, they share information regarding the person or persons that have been interviewed by their agency.
The interviewing process as described by the Syrian refugee dives in deeply into ones own life. In a way the process seems to be more of an interrogation rather than a formal inquiry. As you are interviewed you are questioned multiple times the same question to detect any deviation from the previous story. Once the interview process is completed, those who completed the interview know more about the person than their own family and friends due. The account by the Syrian refugee puts down the notion that those seeking asylum from hotbeds of civil war and the destabilization from various extreme jihadist networks.
Within the executive order by President Trump he has called an indefinite ban of Syrian refugees from entering the United States, and again going on the basis that those who enter will execute a terrorist plot in this country. The examples that have been used to justify these attacks are the tragedies that have occurred in the streets of our European allies. In 2015 alone Europe received one million immigrants into their borders and 80% of those have ventured from Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. Since 2001 there have been a total of nine terrorist attacks on European soil.
These attacks resulted from European citizens of their respective country who traveled to the war torn Middle Eastern countries to gain the necessary training and networking needed to execute the attacks that we have seen take place over the past decade. And that is what brings us to the fray in this discussion, the opportunity of a terrorist attack being committed by someone outside of our nations border.
As stated earlier the focus had been on the outside while ignoring what is occurring in the inside of our country. In a 2016 news report by CBS titled The Americas: 15 Who Left the United States to Join ISIS, states that 250 Americans attempted to enlist in the ranks of ISIS but never left the country and instead leaned on social media sites linked to Daesh to become indoctrinated into the vast terrorist network. The president should rightly so be worried about those who are entering our country however, the possibility of a refugee who is accepted to enter the United States is minimal.
The Europeans who have accepted a huge amount of asylum seekers have seen attacks only sparked by those who were homegrown. Furthermore, the shared borders in Europe make the smuggling of extreme jihadist with no country affiliation to enter those respected borders compared to the United States where the ability to sneak into the country is a much more difficult task that one can imagine.
The administration must focus on how we can detect and identify potential home grown terrorist. As we have seen in our nation, the attacks that have taken place were by those who already were citizens of this country and did not have a true connection to leaders or combatants of ISIS. They were inspired from videos watched online or articles that they discovered on the web. The shutting down of such websites and the research for them should be an agenda for the administration.
The government with the help of Social Media owners have taken steps to shut down and limit the amount of sites that these various networks posses. Another factor that will help in identifying potential extreme jihadist behavior is the cooperation form the Muslim community. And this will not happen with the way we are working on banning those seeking asylum from entering our nation that is known for being a harbinger of freedom.
However, in the executive order section 10 it calls for transparency in reporting t”…the number of foreign nationals in the United States who have been charged with terrorism related offense.” It will focus on whether those who come into the United States and become radicalized. If the report is conducted in a un-bias and accurate manner it will illustrate that those seeking an opportunity to live in the United States is to have the ability to have a better life for their families and for themselves.
The ironic part of the listed countries that were placed on the travel ban Saudi Arabia is not placed on that list. The article does not intend to discredit the Saudi Kingdom however, 15 of the 19 hijackers of the 9-11-2001 attacks, originated from Saudi Arabia. How come they have not been placed on that ban as a potential national security threat since the terrorist attacks in 2001 was similar to the surprise attack by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor.
Several federal judges have placed a stay on Trump’s executive order but custom agents are still enforcing the ban signed by our president. Some members in congress from his own party have even went ahead and saying that they do not agree with the order but say there has to be much more stringent vetting process. Again a mood point because as explained earlier the vetting process is very deep and personal and multiple agencies are already involved how many more agencies can get involved?
Time will only tell what else we are to see in the new year of 2017 from a new administration and a break away from progressive politics.