GOP Senators Demand Biden Cancel Plans to Accept Gazan Refugees into US


GOP senators have demanded that the Biden administration stop its plans to accept Gazan refugees into the United States over concerns of possible terrorist ties.

In a letter dated May 1 to President Joe Biden, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and 34 other GOP senators raised national security concerns if the White House allows these refugees from “this high-risk population for terrorist ties and sympathies.”

“We demand that your administration cease planning for accepting Gazan refugees until you adequately answer our concerns and focus your attention instead on securing the release of U.S. hostages held by Hamas,” the senators wrote.

The letter is in response to an article by CBS News on April 30, reporting that the Biden administration is considering welcoming certain Palestinians to the United States as refugees.

According to the report, in recent weeks, senior officials from several federal agencies in the administration have discussed possible plans to resettle Palestinians from Gaza who have family members who are American citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

The senator warned that Hamas now controls a majority of the Gaza Strip, and U.S. officials have limited access to the area, which makes it difficult for them to conduct comprehensive vetting before admitting these refugees into the United States.

A poll by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research released in March found that  71 percent of Palestinians in Gaza supported Hamas’s decision to launch the Oct. 7 attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people. The poll also revealed that 52 percent of Gazans want Hamas to remain in power. Notably, nearly all Gazans (93 percent) think Hamas did not commit atrocities against Israeli civilians, while 94 percent think Israel committed war crimes instead.

In the letter, the senators also questioned the effectiveness of the Biden administration’s border policy that they said added to their concerns for the federal government’s ability to effectively vet refugees in Gaza, which is far away from the United States.

According to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics, border patrol officials arrested 169 people on the federal terrorist watch list in the 2023 fiscal year. This marks the highest annual number since Border Patrol was established in 1924.

“We must ensure Gazans with terrorist ties or sympathies are denied admission into the United States—no easy feat, given the fact that the Gazans were the ones who voted Hamas into power in 2006. Without thorough vetting, your administration may inadvertently accept terrorists posing as refugees into the interior,” the letter reads. “This is especially the case as Hamas terrorists have a long track record of co-mingling with civilian populations in Gaza.”

In addition, the senators are concerned that the refugee plans could worsen the existing tension at the Egypt-Gaza border, as more Gazans might flood the area in hope of leaving for the United States.

“We are confused as to why the United States is willing to accept Gazan refugees when even nearby Arab countries supportive of the Palestinian cause refuse to take them in due to security concerns,” the letter reads.

The senators then asked President Biden to answer several questions, including to confirm the number of refugees that the White House wants to accept, the screening process to prevent those with terrorist ties from being admitted into the United States, the cost of the plan, whether U.S. officials have consulted with partners in the region, and the housing locations for refugees.

U.S Refugee Processing Centers to Open in Middle East

Last month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a plan to open field offices in Qatar and Turkey to increase refugee processing capability and other purposes.

A report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released in April warned of potential security risks. It noted that the Biden administration “is already seeing that asylum applications, refugee status, and humanitarian parole authority are being routinely exploited by economic migrants to gain quick entry to the U.S.”

“The two refugee processing centers in the Middle East could only make this easier, increasing our national security risk.”

Additionally, the report indicated that Arab states refuse to accept refugees due to possible security risks, while “sadly, the U.S. seems less cautious in this respect.”

Immigration is Top Voter Concern

According to a recent Gallup survey, a steady 27 percent of Americans named immigration as the most important problem the country faces for three consecutive months. This saw immigration take top spot in monthly surveys three times in a row—the first time the issue has held this position in the past 24 years.

An earlier poll taken in March by The Associated Press suggested that over two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the Biden administration’s handling of immigration compared to 31 percent who say the president is doing a good job. A slight majority of 56 percent of Democrats approved of the president’s immigration policies, while just 20 percent of independents and 9 percent of Republicans expressed positive attitudes.

Bill Pan contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times


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