Paris attacks highlight concerns over refugee programs, border security

As the world continues to pray for Paris, a city that is still hurting from the unspeakable horrors endured the other night at the hands of ISIS, nations’ leaders begin to discuss the serious threat. If safety is a priority, then a country must secure its borders to prevent ISIS fighters from entering and prepare a way to combat the threat.

The Guardian reports, citing European governor officials:

One of the most chilling details from the Paris attacks is that the passport of a Syrian refugee was found on or near the body of a dead suicide bomber. The Greek government has subsequently said that someone using the passport was among the refugees who landed in the Greek islands in early October, and the Serbian government says the passport was again used to cross its southern border a few days later.

This development has increased fears of Isis infiltrators among the thousands of desperate refugees arriving in Europe. Allies of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, have voiced security concerns over her open-door policy and one, the Bavarian finance minister Markus Söder, told a German newspaper: “The days of uncontrolled immigration and illegal entry can’t continue just like that. Paris changes everything.”

BuzzFeed News reported last January, when it interviewed an ISIS operative:

An ISIS operative traveled across the Syrian border late last year, settled in a Turkish port city, and began work on a mission to sneak jihadis into Europe. It has been successful, he said, in an interview near the Turkey-Syria border: “Just wait.”

The operative, a Syrian in his thirties with a close-cropped black beard, said ISIS is sending covert fighters to Europe — as did two smugglers who said they have helped. He smuggles them from Turkey in small groups, he said, hidden in cargo ships filled with hundreds of refugees. He said the fighters intend to fulfill ISIS’s threat to stage attacks in the West. He views this as retaliation for U.S.-led airstrikes against the group that began in Iraq last summer and Syria last fall. “If someone attacks me,” he said, speaking with BuzzFeed News on condition of anonymity, “then for sure I will attack them back.”

A separate BuzzFeed News article from a year ago echoed the ISIS operative’s claim, made by a veteran smuggler:

The smuggler, who has been given the pseudonym Hassan here, said in an interview with BuzzFeed News that since the summer he has sent more than 10 Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters into Europe.

Hassan’s claim was impossible to verify — and Western officials said they’d seen no evidence that such a scenario was taking place. His testimony, plus that of a second human trafficker who offered a similar account, marked the first time someone claiming direct involvement has said publicly that such a plan is underway.

This, however, was verified in Paris this past week. Given these warnings have been in existence for a year and have been largely ignored, it is now time to get serious about the refugee program and border security.

Senator Rand Paul, who has showing a seriousness in addressing the ISIS threat for some time, hit Senator Marco Rubio on his policies that would endanger this country. As noted by CNN:

Paul said Rubio blocked his amendment that could have added more scrutiny of people coming into the United States.

“I introduced this to Rubio and (Sen. Chuck) Schumer’s immigration bill and yet Rubio, Schumer and all authors voted against any conservative amendments,” Paul said at the Sunshine Summit in Orlando, a Republican gathering hosted by the Florida GOP.

“And I think that was a mistake, not only for the bill, but also for national security,” Paul added.

Rubio was part of the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” that proposed a comprehensive immigration plan that, among other things, would have included a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. (Schumer, a New York Democrat, was also a member of the group.) The Senate passed the bill but it failed to advance in the House, and it has since been a political thorn in Rubio’s side.

The response of the Marco Rubio presidential campaign? Well:

“I don’t know what Senator Paul is talking about,” Rubio spokesman Alex Conant responded. “The Senate voted on amendments, including conservative ones. It would appear Senator Paul is trying to change the subject away from his dangerous isolationist agenda and proposals to cut defense spending.”

Dangerous isolationist agenda? A year ago, Senator Paul actually tried to not only throw congressional support behind fighting ISIS, he wanted to do so via the legal channels required by the Constitution.

Senator Ted Cruz seemed to back up Senator Paul’s position about the Senate colleague however, when he slammed the Gang of Eight. CNN reports in separate article:

Cruz on Thursday went after Rubio on The Laura Ingraham Show, taking his first direct shot at the Florida senator. “He opposed every single one of them. Every single amendment,” Cruz said. “The Gang of Eight voted as a gang against enforcing and securing the border.”

The disregard for American safety is another thing that Senator Rubio shares with President Barack Obama. Previously noted in Undercover Porcupine, Senator Rubio has responded to criticism over his poor attendance record by using Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Kerry’s Senate careers as defense.

The Washington Times reports regarding the refugee program:

Mr. Obama has ordered the U.S. to prepare to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, with more expected in 2017, as he said Americans must do their part to help give a safety valve to the hundreds of thousands fleeing the war-torn region.

But officials have acknowledged vetting Syrians will be difficult because the U.S. does not have access to Syrian records, and it’s tougher to verify would-be refugees’ stories and backgrounds.

As America prepares to face the growing terrorist threat abroad, we must secure our borders and ready our defenses. Military invasion is not required at this point, because countries like Russia are already intervening. While Senator Rubio refuses to defend America and oppose countries that are attacking ISIS already, Senators Paul and Cruz, as well as Donald Trump, have shown to actually be serious about defending this country.

It’s time we get serious. Secure the border, hold off on Syrian refugees until we can better assess the state of the terrorist threat, and not oppose nations like Russia taking down the terrorists abroad.

Chris Dixon

About Chris Dixon

Chris Dixon is a libertarian-leaning writer and managing editor for The Liberty Conservative. In addition to his political writing, he also covers baseball for Cleat Geeks and enjoys writing on a number of other topics ranging on Medium.