The Obama administration announced that it reached its goal of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees one month early when it welcomed its latest batch of Middle Eastern immigrants on Monday – a move that many Republicans see as a security concern in light of the many recent terrorist attacks waged by immigrating Islamic jihadists globally.
United States National Security Adviser Susan Rice maintained that the U.S.’s pledge to hit the 10,000 refugee mark – originally slated to be reached by the end of the current fiscal year on October 1 – was achieved more than a month ahead of schedule on Monday. She then implied that many more are to come.
"On behalf of the President and his Administration, I extend the warmest of welcomes to each and every one of our Syrian arrivals, as well as the many other refugees resettled this year from all over the world," Rice announced in a statement, according to CNN. “[There’s much more work to be done in the region, but this move is] a meaningful step that we hope to build upon."
What terrorist threat? … bring in more
Rice went on to hint that President Barack Obama’s decision to speed up his controversial acceptance of Syrian refugees flies in the face of those who fear that such immigration will heighten the terrorist threat in America, insinuating that such concerns are not real or worth heeding.
"While refugee admissions are only a small part of our broader humanitarian efforts in Syria and the region, the President understood the important message this decision would send – not just to the Syrian people, but to the broader international community," Rice continued.
Also applauding the increase of America’s intake of Islamic immigrants in the midst of escalating terrorist threats and attacks, Alice Wells, who serves as the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, says that this is just the beginning.
“[The resettlement numbers are] a floor – not a ceiling,” Wells stressed.
International Rescue Committee President and CEO David Milibrand cheered on the aggressive immigration push to continue, as well, saying that even more needs to be done to increase the numbers.
"IRC encourages the White House to consider this 10,000 milestone 'a floor and not a ceiling,'" Milibrand stressed. "The achievement of the 10,000 target proves what is possible, and there remains an urgent need to further strengthen US leadership in resettling refugee families – with appropriate vetting – fleeing violence and war."
Not content with 10,000 this year, Milibrand called the Obama administration to skyrocket its acceptance rate of Middle Eastern refugees from war-torn Syria to 140,000 next year.
Many on the political Right see such a surge in Syrian immigration to America as adding to an already high security threat by Muslims poised to wage jihad in the West. This growing concern has somewhat kept immigration initiatives at bay.
“The influx of Syrian refugees, however, has been a major domestic political flashpoint over the past year – one that could prove an obstacle to any significant increase in the program,” CNN’s Allie Malloy, Elise Labott and Laura Koran report. “Critics of the resettlement effort – including Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump – have long expressed concern about the potential for ISIS or other terrorist groups to exploit refugee flows to reach the West.”
Despite the safety issues involved in accepting such large numbers from an Islamic nation, Wells insists that she is taking national security into consideration.
"The United States government is deeply committed to safeguarding the American public – just as we are committed to providing refuge to some of the world's most vulnerable people," Wells asserted. "We do not believe these goals are mutually exclusive."
Wells also pointed out that the U.S. gives billions of dollars to countries in the Middle East.
“The U.S. is the largest single donor to the Syrian crisis response [and America’s humanitarian assistance in Syria and the region has reached] nearly $5.6 billion so far, including nearly $795 million for Jordan since ... 2012," she informed.
Continuing a dangerous legacy on immigration
Boosting immigration has been an integral part of the Obama administration’s foreign policy for some time, and lately, his State Department indicated weeks ago that the 10,000 milestone would soon be reached and that the current pace would continue through September.
With the escalating terrorist attacks in Europe at the hands of Middle Eastern Islamic migrants admitted into numerous nations, Obama has succumbed to pressure to take in more refugees to alleviate the burden across the Atlantic.
“President Barack Obama set the goal last fall as the migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East reached a critical mass last summer, and leaders in the international community were calling on the U.S. and other world powers to do more to help the growing displaced population,” Malloy, Labott and Koran recounted. “Initially, there were concerns about the administration's ability to meet the new target. The U.S. had only admitted about 1,900 refugees in the first four years of the conflict, and was facing a backlog of UN case referrals. But admissions spiked dramatically starting in May, after the U.S. beefed up staffing at key processing locations in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, accelerating the security vetting and interview process for applicants.”
As the administration commends itself for being the champions of a massive humanitarian effort, many conservatives are blasting the White House for jeopardizing the security of Americans in order to appease European and Middle Eastern nations. Yet the State Department continues to insist that its vetting process yields the most meticulously screened group of travelers entering the country.