HOUSTON, TX - In trying to keep Syrian refugees out of the Lone Star State, Governor Greg Abbott warns a Dallas refugee resettlement charity that he will cut state funding if they continue assisting Syrian refugees.
Immigration lawyer Robert F. Loughran, with Foster Global described the move as “…sort of a political stunt, that makes a good headline, potentially makes people remember that the governor will be tough on immigration, but it doesn't accomplish anything.”
The refugee programs Governor Abbott is threatening help those fleeing the same terrorists we fear. They help find housing, education, and employment once inside the U.S.
But getting into the country as a refugee is not easy.
The refugees are screened as many as 5 times and spend more than a year in a camp outside the United States.
“If we have anything to worry about, it's not from the refugees. They are the ones we should feel most comfortable with… There has not been a terrorist attack committed in the United States by someone that has entered the United States as a refugee,” says Loughran.
The fear of terror coming from abroad is not unfounded. A majority of the Saudi 9/11 terrorists made their way through various visa programs. One in particular is getting an overhaul.
The visa waiver program allows travelers from countries with good track records when it comes to overstay and violation, mostly European countries, to visit the United States for 90 days or less without needing advanced approval. The problem is the Paris attackers seemed to have been from some of the eligible countries.
Monday the government announced stricter guidelines, penalties, and incentives to strengthen the security of the program. One of the strongest changes involves travelers who have visited Syria or Iraq in the past five years.
"Those people will be kicked off the assembly line so to speak... you instead must go to a consulate set up appointments, wait in line,” says Loughran.
The U.S. is not dealing with Bond villains. Terrorists are not likely to live in refugee camps for a year, submitting to fingerprinting and background checks. But as the investigation into the Paris attacks shakes out, it looks like Europeans may have to give up a little of their freedom, for our security.