State Department spokesman John Kirby has gone on record admitting that ISIS terrorists have attempted to infiltrate refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey and that U.S. vetting processes are imperfect. No surprise there really, other than the belated admission of something that's patently self-evident, from an administration notoriously loath to speak straightforwardly about the threat of Islamist terrorism.
Kirby, many readers will recollect, was Rear Admiral John Kirby, Defense Department spokesman and chief apologist for the Obama administration's metronomic back-and-forth global military policies, before retiring and taking on this newest gig. (See this transcript of one of his Pentagon press briefings in which he acknowledges that a former Guantanamo detainee returned to the battlefield after release, but goes on to defend the administration's intent to close the terrorist brig there.)
As quick as he acknowledged that terrorists are attempting to infiltrate refugee camps with the hope of being admitted to western countries in Europe, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere, though, Kirby immediately went on to try to reassure Americans by saying, "We feel good that it is — it's done appropriately, it's done thoroughly, that the vetting is good."
Well. It's good that he feels good, but I take no particular reassurance from that statement, given the glaring lapses in immigration and consular vetting that have come to light in a number of terror-related cases in the recent past.
Kirby also makes this point: "Eight out of 10 of the more than 10,000 Syrian refugees that we've admitted to the country are women and children." He's clearly aware of, and trying to allay, public concerns over many of the photos and videos that have emerged from the European migrant crisis which show overwhelming numbers of able-bodied young men, many of them holding smart phones and exhibiting little sign of famine or fatigue despite the "humanitarian crisis".
The problem with Kirby's assertion is that it's totally disingenuous.
Aliens seeking refugee status, whether they are legitimate or malafide applicants, are not stupid people. They, too, are fully aware of the disastrous optics of fit, fighting-age men wanting to migrate to the West. So they deliberately put the women and children forward to seek the benefit and get accepted first. Often enough, the putative wife will say that she became separated from her husband during the conflict; she hasn't heard from him for a long time and has given him up for dead, or something similar.
So: Women and children — a good vetting bet, right? Not necessarily. This is because Section 207(c)(2)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) says this:
A spouse or child ... of any refugee who qualifies for admission under paragraph (1) shall, if not otherwise entitled to admission under paragraph (1) ... be entitled to the same admission status as such refugee if accompanying, or following to join, such refugee.
In other words, once a woman has obtained status as a refugee, her "spouse" — the young able-bodied male of major concern — is entitled as a matter of law to follow to join her in the United States.
Virtually every Western nation that is signatory to the international convention on refugees and asylees has a provision of law comparable to that found in the INA.
Thus, the fact that right now eight out of 10 being approved and admitted are women and children doesn't alter the fact that this balance will inevitably shift as husbands are miraculously discovered to be alive, not dead after all, and come forward to take advantage of the "follow-to-join" provision. Some who do this will simply be calculating opportunists; others may be much more malevolent by intent.
At least a portion of the readers of this blog will think me callous for making such a suggestion. They will almost certainly be those who approve wholeheartedly of a refugee program so generous that it throws national security and public safety concerns to the wind, because the individuals more callous than me, the ones we should all be worrying about, are those terrorists who are already trying to exploit the refugee program for their own awful purposes. They're smart enough to know how the system works.