About refugees, tourists

A column by Mike Myer, executive editor of The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register 

WHEELING, W.Va. — Americans are supposed to open our arms wide and embrace 20,000 or so refugees from Syria, even though there’s an excellent chance some of them may be terrorist moles. President Barack Obama says so.

But Luke Angel? No way. He’s not permitted to come to the United States, according to multiple press reports.

In 2010 Angel, then 17, sat down at home in Great Britain and sent an email to the White House. It was “full of abusive and threatening language” directed at Obama, a British police spokesman said.

“I think I called Barack Obama a p—-,” Angel said, adding he was drunk at the time and couldn’t remember precisely what he wrote.

Obama has pulled out all the rhetorical stops in telling Americans – chiefly members of Congress – why we’re brutes for questioning his plan to bring Syrian refugees here. He had threatened to veto a bill on the subject approved last week by a wide, bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives.

Would it surprise you to learn the bill doesn’t bar a single person from entering the United States?

What the measure, HR 4038 does is require that immigrants from Syria or Iraq be subjected to “a thorough background investigation…”

It bars entry to refugees unless directors of the FBI and the national intelligence agency certify “that the covered alien is not a threat to the security of the United States.”

That shouldn’t be difficult for the 3-year-old orphans Obama has claimed will be refused refuge by Congress.

It may be tougher for some of the adults. National security officials admit they have no way of ensuring some of the Syrians are not Islamic State terrorists. That is a special challenge because we know the IS has planted some operatives within the human wave of refugees.

Again, however, members of Congress aren’t banning entry to anyone. They’ve said only that the two security officials have to certify no one they allow into the country is a threat.

Well, why not if the situation is as safe and clear-cut a moral issue as Obama insists? Why couldn’t the two officials green-light several thousand refugees about whom they’re reasonably certain (those carrying 3-year-old children, for example)? As for the rest, could official reluctance be because there’s a real possibility of terrorist infiltration?

And there’s this to consider from the president: “The idea that somehow (the Syrians) pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jive with reality.”

Lots of tourists are barred entry because U.S. officials worry they may be troublemakers. A couple of years ago, Homeland Security agents stopped two young adults from Ireland at an airport in Los Angeles, then sent them home. Before coming here, one had tweeted that he was going to “destroy America.” He was using slang for heavy partying. He also tweeted that his plans included “diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up.”

So it comes down to Obama insisting Americans have to admit the refugees, even though some of them may be terrorists.

But hey, we do have to ban teenagers who use foul language toward the president. And we certainly need to safeguard Marilyn Monroe’s remains …

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