Obama’s Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Policies Placed America at Great Risk

By Steve Baldwin

With all the fake news and controversy swirling around regarding Trump’s executive order to temporarily ban visas from seven Muslim-dominant countries, its time Americans knew exactly how the Obama administration put Americans at risk with its incredibly inept and reckless immigration and border security policies.

Indeed, defending our country from those who would do us harm is one of the few responsibilities that the constitution specifically grants to the president, stating that he “shall protect each of them [states] against invasion.”  And it is an invasion of sorts.  When Congress asked the Department of Homeland Security to prepare a report on how many illegal aliens successfully cross the border each year, the figure they came up with was 250,000, which John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center said is “158 percent higher than they are telling people,” adding the “The administration has made fraudulent changes in the number to hide this.”  And that is just the number of illegal’s crossing at the border. If one adds all the immigrants who abuse our asylum, visa, and refugee programs, it’s a much larger figure.  What most Americans do not realize is that under Obama, the border control and immigration agencies have been forced to carry out Obama’s “open borders” policies that, by design, benefit Islamic immigrants and potential terrorists.

Western Journalism has reviewed the Obama record on these issues and it’s much worse than we thought:

Obama’s Illegal “executive” amnesty program allowed thousands of illegal aliens into the country without any serious background vetting 

This unconstitutional policy – Congress never voted on this policy change — gave a green light to terrorists to enter the country illegally, knowing they will be granted amnesty.  There is already strong evidence that terrorists have used our refugee and amnesty programs to insert themselves into the U.S.  As Judicial Watch writes, “It is not credible for anyone to suggest that President Obama’s amnesty program is about protecting the public safety.  Whether it is releasing dangerous criminal illegal aliens onto an unsuspecting public – or simply refusing to do basic background checks on beneficiaries of its amnesty programs – the Obama administration will guarantee that innocent Americans suffer a high price indeed for its lawlessness.”

Moreover, the Obama administration admitted they are NOT conducting background checks on amnesty seekers.  Thankfully, the Supreme Court deadlocked on the legality of Obama’s “executive amnesty” program, thereby upholding a lower court ruling against this policy.  However, before the court acted, 100,000 illegal aliens were amnestied even though thousands had criminal backgrounds, including homicide, sexual assault and kidnapping, yet none were deported.

Obama’s refusal to deport many illegal aliens – even those convicted of crimes – made it easier for terrorists to remain in the U.S.

Judicial Watch obtained Homeland Security documents that reveal that “through March 2015, the Obama administration had released 195,900 convicted criminal aliens throughout the United States, including many convicted of such violent crimes as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and aggravated assault.”   Obama claims his administration is deporting all illegal aliens with criminal records, but that is simply not true.  According to data for 2013 released by ICE, the actual percent of illegal aliens who are deported during the Obama era is 0.26.

The failure to deport illegal aliens certainly affects our counter-terrorism policies.  Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the mastermind of the Boston Marathon attacks, is one of those who should have been deported.  He was arrested for domestic violence in 2009 which normally triggers a deportation.   Moreover, according to a Immigration and Customs Enforcement document, “ In the three fiscal years from 2007-2009, the Department of Homeland Security caught and released 481 illegal aliens from nations designated as state sponsors of terrorism and ‘countries of interest,’ and those 481 aliens are now fugitives.”  How many of these fugitives are potential terrorists?   Obama’s pathetic response was to set up a hotline to help out illegal aliens detained by state and local officials.

Obama’s Immigration Control & Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had a “hands off list” that allowed some with terrorist connections to immigrate to the U.S. 

This secretive program allows individuals with dangerous terrorist connections to enter the U.S.  In 2014, Senator Charles Grassley actually obtained DHS/ICE emails about this “hands off list” that discussed admitting an unnamed Muslim Brotherhood member with ties to several terrorist groups.   That person was allowed into the U.S. but it is not known how many other such individuals were admitted under this secretive program.  Apparently, the Obama Administration gave special treatment to some people with extremist connections if they belong to a group Obama favors, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Obama Administration massively increased the number of asylum seekers and its vetting system was weak to non-existent

According to a House Judiciary Committee Report, there was been a 586 percent increase from 2007 to 2013 regarding those who claim asylum.  All one had to do is claim they faced a “credible fear” of persecution in their home country.  However, rarely is any vetting done to ascertain whether or not the asylum seeker is truly persecuted or lying.  The problem is that this program is being used by Muslims to obtain entry into the U.S.  The Boston Marathon terrorist brothers, for example, were granted asylum by “derivative” status through their parents. Ramzi Yousef was allowed into the U.S. after invoking “political asylum “ and not too long later plotted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  Somali national Nuradin Abdi, the al Qaeda shopping mall bomber, entered America in 2007 claiming asylum.

And there are other terrorists who have used asylum to gain entry to the U.S.  It’s a perfect program for terrorists because, first of all, they knew Obama’s agencies would undertake the proper vetting to discover asylum seekers’ extremist backgrounds.  Secondly, unlike normal immigrants who must show they have the means to support themselves, asylum immigrants are actually given welfare benefits immediately and even given “start-up” money.  So while terrorists are plotting attacks, U.S. taxpayers are paying for their food, rent, healthcare, etc.

The Obama Administration made no effort to track down at least 9,500 potential terrorists whose visas were revoked

There are thousands of foreigners already inside the U.S. had visas revoked due to terror links but no effort was made to track them down. According to former DHS counter-terrorism officer Phillip Haney, “we have 10,000 individuals in the country whose visas were retroact  tively cancelled because of links to terrorist, and now we don’t know where they are….That shows one of the major flaws in the vetting system…”   Obama State Department appointee Michele Thoren Bond testified in 2015 before a congressional oversight committee that 9,500 visas were revoked since 2001 due to terrorist connections.  When Congressman Jason Chaffetz , R-Utah, questioned her about their whereabouts, she responded, “I don’t know.”

The Immigration Customs and Enforcement Agency is unable to identify many terrorists entering the country due to the purging of intelligence files by the Obama Administration

As a result of the FBI, DHS and other agencies being forced by Obama appointees to purge and delete many terrorist records, much of the information used by ICE to decide who gains entry to the U.S. was  compromised.  Even names that should have appeared on the “No Fly” have even been removed due to Obama’s file purges.

Obama’s DHS has a program, which, by lottery, allows thousands of Middle Eastern immigrants to immigrate to the United States

Called the “Diversity Immigrant Visa Program,” 50,000 illegal aliens are randomly selected each year to receive green cards and many are Middle Eastern immigrants here illegally. As the DHS website states:  “The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program) makes up to 50,000 immigrant visas available annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.”

While this program began in 1995, Obama enthusiastically continued it even though they knew terrorists had used this program to gain entry to the U.S.A.  Indeed, in 2002, Hesham Hadayet, an Egyptian, was about to be deported because he overstayed his visa, but his wife won a permanent resident visa from this program, allowing him to remain.  Then Hadayet placed a “Read the Koran” sticker on his door, drove to Los Angeles Airport and randomly started shooting people.  Two died.

A 2007 GAO report stated: “In 2003, State’s Inspector General raised concerns that aliens from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism can apply for diversity visas. Nearly 9,800 persons from these countries have obtained permanent residency in the United States through the program.”  Nevertheless, the program continued throughout the Obama era.

Obama terminated the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System

This program was started in the wake of 9/11 in an effort to prevent terrorists from entering the United States.  It consisted of a series of controls designed to collect information, fingerprints, and photographs of certain non-citizens entering and living in the United States, and to monitor them once in the U.S.  The program focused on male non-citizens of a certain age from a number of Islamic countries that are, according to the INS, “heightened national security or law enforcement risks”.  The program successfully stopped a number of terrorists but was terminated in 2011 by the Obama Administration after a coalition of radical Islamic pressure groups lobbied Obama.   Before the program was shut down, it stopped 330 known foreign criminals and three known terrorists.

Obama is not serious about reforming the visa program, despite its abuse by many terrorists including the 9/11 terrorists

At least 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers used visas to get into the U.S. and all of them should have been denied because of incomplete or improper answers on their visa forms. Had visa regulations been enforced, most of the 9/11 terrorists would not have been admitted into the U.S.  Indeed, over a half million visa holders overstayed their visas in 2015 alone.

In 2010 the “Visa Security Program (VSP)” was created to enhance the vetting of certain visa applicants. It identified 57 consulates worldwide considered “at risk” and funded extra DHS security officers to be stationed at those consulates to assist with vetting the visa applicants. The program was initiated for only 14 consulates before Obama froze its funding in 2011.

According to the Inspector General, by 2014, only 20 of the 57 “high risk” consulates were participating in the program, the program continued to be short-funded, and Obama’s appointees refused to collect the necessary data needed to assess the program: “ICE has not taken actions to assure that (1) data needed to assess program performance is collected and reported, (2) consular officers receive appropriate advice and training, and (3) Visa Security Program hours are tracked and used to determine staffing and funding needs. Without these types of information, ICE cannot ensure that the Visa Security Program is operating as intended. DHS has consistently delivered their annual reports to Congress late, reducing their usefulness.”   After 8 years, Obama never secured the visa program as it was simply not a priority.

Obama appointees pressure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officers to rubber-stamp immigrant visa applications, sometimes against the officers’ will

Internal USCIS documents and a 2011 Inspector General report found that a quarter of the 254 USCIS officers surveyed were pressured to approve visa applications quickly, even if there were fraud or security concerns. Moreover, at least five USCIS veterans were either demoted or relocated because they were too tough on approving visa applicants.

Three of the 9/11 hijackers used the “Visa Express” program, which allows Saudi Arabian citizens to apply for non-immigrant visas at private travel agencies with very little vetting

State Department people never see these applications and these visa holders never interface with any Americans until they step onto American soil.  As National Review writes: “Three of the 9/11 hijackers entered the U.S. through Visa Express, even though the program had only been in place for three months at that point — and that’s not the only reason the program raises alarm. Take a sample month: The U.S. consulate in Jeddah interviewed only two of 104 applicants, rejecting none. The month in question?  The first 30 days after 9/11. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that enjoys such privileges when it comes to visas.” 

Not only is Saudi Arabia a breeding ground for terrorists — 15 of the 19  9/11 terrorists were Saudis — but there is substantial evidence that elements of the Saudi Royal family were involved with the 9/11 attack.  Today, the Visa Express program still exists under a different name: “Global Entry Trusted Traveler,” and America continues to fast track thousands of Saudi travelers with little background checking, despite at least two instances SINCE 9/11 of Saudis on visas engaging in terrorism in the U.S.  There are a number of allies such as France who are even part of this program.

In August, 2016, Obama’s ICE and Border Patrol announced the creation of “safe havens” areas in which they would not apprehend illegal aliens, thereby creating sanctuaries for illegal aliens and terrorists.

These areas are schools, medical facilities, public demonstrations, and places of worship.  This means that ICE/Border Patrol cannot search a mosque for illegal aliens even though there have been hundreds of instances worldwide in which mosques were used to shelter terrorists. With this announcement, potential terrorists here illegally now know they can safely hide in mosques while preparing for a terrorist attack and not worry about an ICE or Border Patrol raid.  This policy, incidentally, violates existing federal law as do all “sanctuary” polices.  Moreover, granting certain civil liberties to non-citizens is new policy that must be voted on by Congress but they never voted to do this. Once again, the Obama Administration has engaged in lawless behavior at the expense of public safety.

The Obama administration has allowed “sanctuary” cities to defy immigration law without consequences.

Sanctuary cities have existed before Obama but with the increase of domestic terrorism, one would expect the Obama administration to cut off federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with ICE.  During the Obama era, Islamic terrorists were able to go to select cities and only safely hide in mosques and sometimes entire cities as well without fear of an ICE raid.

The Obama Administration has lost complete control of the student visa program

The student visa program has been around for decades but under Obama, the program was operated in an extremely reckless fashion.  Obama dramatically expanded the number of foreign student visas allowed but then refused to expand efforts to track these students. ABC News reported that “the number of foreign nationals obtaining visas to study in the U.S. has grown from 662,966 in 2003 to more than 1.2 million in 2012.” 

In 2014, it was reported that 58,000 foreign students overstayed their visas and of those, 6,000 were identified by authorities as “heightened concern” – these are from terror supporting countries or countries with lots of terrorism — but Obama officials have no idea where they are. As ICE official Peter Edge stated, “some of them could be here to do us harm.” Numerous terrorists and potential terrorists have used student visas to gain entry   into the U.S., including Hani Hanjour, the terrorist who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon.  Even the Taliban’s former spokesman, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, attended Yale on a student visa.  Indeed, ABC News has reported that since 9/11, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terrorism-related charges.

The Obama Administration has made no effort to strip American citizens of their citizenship once they have fought with ISIS or al Qaeda

Obama’s FBI director, James Comey, even stated, “So someone who’s fought with ISIL, with an American Passport, wants to come back, we will track them very carefully.”  Why not strip them of their citizenship and bar them from reentering the country?  According to a Department of Justice official, as many as 250 Americans have joined ISIS but Obama will not use U.S. Code, Section 1481 to revoke their citizenship.   This code makes it very clear that if a citizen can lose his citizenship if they are “serving in, the armed forces for a foreign state” that is “engaged in hostilities against the United States.” 

Incredibly, a number of al Qaeda members were allowed to become citizens.  Yet, there is ample precedent for revoking citizenship.   From 1979-2010, the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations stripped citizenship from a number of former Nazis who committed crimes  in World War 11 and then deported them.   Senator Ted Cruz has introduced a bill that amends Section 1481 to make clear that fighting with a terrorist group will cause one to lose American citizenship but so far Democrats in both houses have opposed the bill.

U.S. authorities refuse to check out the social media postings of visa applicants

Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refuses to allow his agents to check the social media postings of visa applicants, claiming to do so would be “bad public relations.”  Had the agents checked the social media posts of Tashfeen Malik, one of the San Bernardino shooters, they would have seen  numerous postings about jihad and martyrdom and perhaps this attack could have been prevented.   Nevertheless, Obama’s appointees were more concerned about “public relations” than the safety of Americans.  What’s bizarre is that the same agency routinely monitors the social media posts of ordinary Americans “for criticism of the government.” Apparently, monitoring law abiding citizens is a proper use of DHS time, but monitoring potential terrorists is not)

The evidence is overwhelming that Islamic immigrants and refugees have committed terrorist acts

Senator Jeff Sessions released a report that states, “Based on open-source research conducted on a list provided by the Department of Justice, the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest has determined that at least 380 of the 580 individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2014, were born abroad.”  Obama is so hostile to the notion that Islamic immigrants and refugees could engage in terrorism that his administration stonewalled Congress when it attempted to discover the immigration history of 113 foreign- born terrorists implicated in domestic terrorist operations.

Indeed, Obama’s agencies refused to turn over details on multiple terror investigations to congressional investigators.  As the Washington Free Beacon reports, “Leading senators Monday petitioned multiple Obama administration agencies to stop stonewalling a congressional investigation into the immigration histories of at least 113 foreign-born individuals implicated in terrorist operations after legally entering the United States….”  And yet Obama has the audacity to announce there are no “existential threats facing us.”  It is obvious Obama does not want to give Congress damaging information about immigrants while he is pushing to admit more Islamic refugees.  Already, the Beacon reports, “the Senators have been able to determine that around a dozen of the suspected terrorists were able to enter the US legally as refugees.” Clearly, Obama is placing his obsession with Islamic refugees above the security of the American people.

Terrorists are taking advantage of Obama’s open-borders immigration policies, including his refusal to give the Border Patrol the necessary resources to keep terrorists from crossing the southern border

While Obama officials have repeatedly denied Islamic terrorists are coming across the southern border, the evidence is overwhelming this is occurring.  Border Patrol agents have reported that Mexican smugglers are being paid $50,000 a head to smuggle terrorists in. Texas sheriffs have reported finding Islamic items like prayer rugs along the banks of the Rio Grande River.  Judicial Watch has uncovered evidence that ISIS maintains a training base eight miles south of El Paso and that Mexican drug cartels are helping them smuggle terrorists across the border.  They have confirmed this with Mexican authorities.

According to State Department cables obtained by Judicial Watch, the Border Patrol issued an alert for al Qaeda leader Adnan El Shukrijumah who was apparently being smuggled across the border.  Shukrijumah had previously been involved with a plot to detonate nuclear devices in several U.S. cities.   Judicial Watch also broke the story in 2014 that four ISIS terrorists who were planning attacks in the U.S. were arrested at the border. In a separate story, JW reported in 2014 that “U.S. authorities have acknowledged that upwards of 40 foreign ISIS fighters have slipped not the United States and are waiting to strike.” 

Under Obama, border crossings by illegal aliens and “refugees” from terror-involved countries have increased

The House Committee on Homeland Security reported that 1,918 “Special Interest Aliens” from terror-involved countries were detained at the border from 2006-2011, but the Border Patrol says for every alien caught, three others get away, so the real number of “Special Interest Aliens” for this time period is around 5700.  The Houston Chronicle reported in March, 2011 that “Nearly 900 ‘Special Interest Aliens’ from 35 nations with suspected ties to terrorism have been apprehended along the border between Texas and California over the past 17 months….according to a Border Patrol report obtained by the Chronicle.”  Again, the number of those not caught is probably around 2700.  This indicates that the number of “Special Interest Aliens” attempting to cross our border became a serious issue during the Obama Era but there was no concern shown by the Obama Administration.  More recent statistics may be even more alarming, but the Obama Administration has not been willing to release them.

Domestic terrorism is rising but instead of slowing down the admission of Islamic refugees from terror-supporting countries, Obama massively increases it while ignoring Christian refugees

Obama ordered his administration to accept 10,000 Syrians in 2016. Even though Syria is full of ISIS bases and training camps, Obama ridicules the idea that Syrian refugees could be security risks: “The idea that somehow [Syrian refugees] pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jive with realty.”

However, not one of the Gulf States has taken ONE refugee precisely due to security concerns.  Indeed, one of the terrorists involved in the Paris terror attack held a Syrian refugee passport. And the Syrian Ambassador to India, Riad Abbas, says that “among the refugees, who went to Europe, maybe more than 20 percent belong to ISIL groups.”    Both FBI Director James Comey and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, admitted they have no way of vetting Syrian refugees since there are no data bases in war torn Syrian that even exist.  Before a congressional committee, DHS official Matthew Emrich stated, “in many countries of the world from which we have traditionally accepted refugees over the years the United States government did not have extensive data holdings.” 

Even Obama’s intelligence officials informed Congressman Michael McCaul, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, that they have information indicating Syrian terrorists are trying to gain access to America via the refugee program.  Lastly, ISIS has repeatedly boasted of infiltrating the refugee camps in Europe from which America is obtaining refugees.  Indeed, the European Union has even issued a report about how ISIS is smuggling Islamic “migrants” into Europe.  Once again, Obama misled the American people about the threat posed by Syrian refugees because he refuses to believe Islamic refugees could have hostile intent.  Obama even tweeted “Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values,” but for much of 2011, his own State Department quit processing Iraqi refugees due to security concerns.

It is much the same situation with Islamic Somalia refugees, of whom 100,000 have been admitted to the U.S. during the Obama era.  In the first six weeks of 2016, 827 Somali refugees were admitted and all but one were Muslims.  It has been reported that at least 22 Somalis have travelled back to Somalia to fight with the ISIS-aligned terror group, al-Shabaab.

What is unfortunate is that Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East but very few of them are being admitted as refugees. Of the 6,834 Syrian refugees America has accepted through July 31st, 2016, only 0.7 were non-Muslims. Meanwhile, Christian minorities – around 10% of Syria’s population – are being slaughtered all over Syria.

Conclusion

Between our visa, green card, amnesty, refugee and asylum programs, not to mention normal immigration, America has admitted millions of Muslims into the U.S. since 2008, many of whom detest America and support sharia law.  Never before has America admitted so many people from the Middle East and never before have our vetting systems and immigration policies been administered so carelessly. Why?  Two reasons.   First, it is clear that Obama had a bias toward the Islamic faith and his statements over the last 8 years downplaying Islamic terrorism confirms this. Secondly, with at least 80% of Muslim immigrants voting Democrat, he has political reasons as well, national security be damned.    It will take a year of two just for President Trump and his team to repair the damage done to our national security as a result of Obama’s reckless policies.


Steve Baldwin Steve Baldwin is a former California State Assemblyman and the former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy and Young Americans for Freedom. He has been published in numerous publications and is the author of From Crayons to Condoms, The Ugly Truth about America’s Public Schools.

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