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Syrian refugee caught plotting attack on Pittsburgh church. How many more are there?

This is exactly the sort of person President Trump sought to keep out of the country with his moratorium on immigration from several Middle Eastern countries issued in February 2017. Unfortunately, it came six months too late to keep out Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, a Syrian refugee who was arrested by the FBI for attempting to bomb a church in Pittsburgh.

According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, Alowemer, who was granted refugee status from Daraa, Syria on August 1, 2016, plotted to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center in Pittsburgh, a Nigerian Christian church, on behalf of ISIS fighters at war in that country. In the detailed complaint, the FBI describes Alowemer’s attempt to work with fellow ISIS supporters in America to surveil the church, purchase explosive material, and time and plan the attack. He didn’t know that one of those individuals was an FBI employee. Alowemer planned to meet the undercover agent one more time “to conduct planning and coordination prior to carrying out the attempted bombing in July 2019,” but was busted on Wednesday.

How many more persecutors do we bring in under the guise of protecting the persecuted? Much as with the asylum for those from Central America, most of these individuals from the Middle East do not meet the legal definition of a refugee. They are not persecuted on account of their religion. Yet the Obama administration brought in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees without question before Trump shut it down. As a result, in 2017, the FBI announced it was investigating 300 refugees for terrorism activity.

A quick glance at the State Department’s refugee database shows that 18,723 Syrian refugees arrived in America from January 2015 until Trump’s inauguration. Despite the fact that Christians were the ones suffering the worst persecution, 98.7 percent of the Syrian refugees were Muslim, almost everyone one of them a Sunni Muslim, the denomination of ISIS.

Over 2.2 million individuals from predominantly Islamic countries were admitted as legal permanent residents since 9/11 with no understanding of how many might be security problems, not to mention how many more just don’t love America, when there are thousands of other immigrants who would cherish our values. A 2017 DOJ/DHS report found that at least 402, or 73 percent, of the 549 individuals convicted of international terrorism-related charges from September 11, 2001, through 2016 were verified as foreign-born.

While Trump did a good job shutting off the refugee program, what is happening at our border under the false pretense of asylum has erased all those gains with interest and poses an even greater security concern. Refugees, as opposed to asylum-seekers, are to be carefully selected and screened before being awarded legal status. Yet we see how often mistakes are made. Bogus asylum-seekers who show up at our border, on the other hand, force their way into the country without any selection or vetting. Over 208,000 individuals have been released into our communities just since December 21 with no idea who these people are. Most of them are from Central America, where we have no idea how many have ties to gangs or whose children are susceptible to joining the population of MS-13 we’ve already let into the country in previous waves. Moreover, they are also coming from many other places, including Africa, the Middle East, Cuba, and even Russia.

Additionally, just like with refugees from the Middle East, none of these people meet the criterion of a persecuted minority carefully spelled out in law. Our laws are very clear that nobody has an affirmative right to immigrate. With so many problems domestically encompassing troubled youth in schools and domestic terrorists targeting houses of worship, there is certainly no reason to import more individuals from other countries who pose security risks.

Is it too much to ask that nobody is released into our country or given immigration status without our government being absolutely sure that person loves this country and its values? Just this past week, the DOJ inspector general released an audit showing how the Justice Department lost track of hundreds of dangerous criminals brought into the country in order to help FBI and DEA investigators. These “individuals may otherwise be considered inadmissible to the United States due to their association with criminal enterprises.” However, as of August 2018, “DHS was still seeking information regarding 665 [DOJ] sponsorships” and identified “a total of 62 sponsored foreign nationals who had absconded from DOJ control.”

Similarly, last month, a Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report revealed that 40 percent of Afghani military trainees (228 individuals) brought here to train to fly AC-208 aircraft in Fort Worth went AWOL into the interior of the country. In general, over 56,000 Afghani military or contractor personnel have been brought here since 2006. Can anyone say with a straight face that a meaningful portion of them don’t subscribe to radical Sharia?

A little more focus on keeping security threats off our shores – whether through visas or at the border – rather than sending our military to solve Islamic civil wars overseas will go a long way toward fulfilling the original mission of homeland security after 9/11.

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