Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Tells White House “Stop Accepting Syrian Refugees”

Aug 4, 2016
Press Release
National Security at Risk

FBI Director Warns “Terrorist Diaspora out of Syria Like We’ve Never Seen Before”

WASHINGTON — In a letter sent today to President Obama, Congressman Vern Buchanan urged an immediate halt in accepting Syrian refugees. Buchanan said America’s national security is at risk based on FBI Director James Comey’s warning of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before.” 

Comey last week said the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in dispersing terrorists elsewhere, including America. “At some point there is going to be a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we've never seen before.” Comey added, “Not all of the Islamic State killers are going to die on the battlefield.”

The FBI director's warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors a consensus among intelligence officials, according to CNN.

In his letter to the president, Buchanan said, “We need to stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security.”

The Congressman cited a clear pattern in which a number of recent attacks have been carried out by ISIS terrorists with ties to Syria, including the bombing of a music festival in Germany, the killing of a French priest and the murder of a German woman with a machete. Syrian refugees played a part, either as attackers or accomplices, in all three attacks.

FBI Director Comey’s remarks come as the Obama administration continues to accelerate the acceptance of Syrian refugees as part of it so-called “surge operation.” The president has said he wants to admit 10,000 Syrians by the end of September.

Buchanan called the president’s goal extremely troubling, noting that White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently admitted that the refugee screening process “typically takes 12 to 18 months....the reason for that process is that the safety and security of the U.S. homeland comes first.”

According to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center, a total of 7,751 Syrian refugees have been admitted into the U.S. since the beginning of last October, and nearly 5,000 in the last two months alone.  

The risks of rushing to accept Syrian refugees were magnified by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s warning that “We don’t obviously put it past the likes of ISIL to infiltrate operatives among these refugees” when discussing bringing refugees into the U.S. He even went so far as to call it a huge concern of ours.

Buchanan said the lives of Americans must come before providing refugee assistance. “Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West,” Buchanan said. “The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed."

Buchanan urged the president to work with world leaders to create a safe zone for refugees inside Syria or in a neighboring country. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. could support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East for the cost of caring for one refugee in the U.S.

Full text of Buchanan’s letter below:

August 4, 2016

The Honorable Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear Mr. President:

I urge you to immediately stop accepting Syrian refugees as a matter of national security. The chilling prediction by FBI Director James Comey of “a terrorist diaspora out of Syria like we’ve never seen before” warrants an immediate freeze on Syrian refugees.

Director Comey warned the nation last week that the defeat of ISIS soldiers in Syria and Iraq will likely result in their dispersal elsewhere, including America. 

The FBI director's warning that the collapse of the caliphate will mean increased attacks in Western Europe and the United States mirrors an alarming consensus among intelligence officials.

We are seeing a clear pattern in which a number of recent attacks have been carried out by ISIS terrorists with ties to Syria, including: the July 24 bombing of a music festival in Germany; the July 26 killing of a French priest; and the July 24 murder of a German woman with a machete. Syrian refugees played a part, either as attackers or accomplices, in all three attacks.

In the context of this clear threat, your goal of admitting 10,000 Syrians as a part of a so-called “surge operation” is extremely troubling, particularly given that White House press secretary Josh Earnest recently admitted that the screening process “typically takes 12 to 18 months....the reason for that process is that the safety and security of the U.S. homeland comes first.”

I urge you to work with world leaders to create a safe zone for refugees inside Syria or in a neighboring country. According to data from the Center for Immigration Studies, the U.S. could support the resettlement of 12 refugees in the Middle East for the cost of caring for one refugee in the U.S.

Terrorists are leaving Syria disguised as refugees and carrying out attacks in the West. The prudent course of action is to halt all admissions of Syrians into the U.S. until the safety of Americans can be guaranteed.

Sincerely,
 

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress