1) “The attackers in Paris were refugees from Syria.”
The attackers were French and Belgian nationals, none of them were born in Syria or Iraq or any Daesh (The Arabic abbreviate name for ISIS, which they reportedly hate being called) occupied countries. One of the attackers was found with a Syrian passport which authorities have determined to be a fake, according to a report by the BBC.
2) “The vetting process for refugees is too easy.”
The process for vetting refugees is quite thorough, and takes around 18-24 months to complete. For Syrians, the application process can take longer due to security concerns. A terrorist would have a much easier time applying for a tourist or business Visa. Even still, Visa requirements are waived for up to a 90 day stay in the U.S., if originating from a country such as France or Belgium, from where the attackers had passports.
Before a refugee even faces U.S. vetting, he or she must first clear an eligibility hurdle. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — or occasionally a U.S. embassy or another NGO (non-governmental organization) — determines which refugees (about 1 percent) should be resettled through its own process, which can take four to 10 months.
Once a case is referred from the UNHCR to the United States, a refugee undergoes a security clearance check that could take several rounds, an in-person interview, approval by the Department of Homeland Security, medical screening, a match with a sponsor agency, “cultural orientation” classes, and one final security clearance. This all happens before a refugee ever steps foot onto American soil.
There is a concern for how much background information can be collected on an applicant, since it is very difficult to get background records from war torn Syria. This could potentially create a security concern, however as noted, there are much easier and quicker ways for a terrorist to enter the country and do harm.
3) “The Syrian refugees are mostly military age males.”
The Syrian refugees, according to the UNHCR, are 50.5% female. Children 11 years and younger account for 38.5%. Conservative sites have been quoting misleading numbers about the percentage of males, putting them usually around 72%. However this accounts for refugees from 9 other countries as well, and only for Mediterranean Sea crossings, half of which are Syrian. “Single men of combat age” represent only 2% of those admitted to the U.S.
4) “The Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon were refugees”
The Tsarnaevs were children of asylees whose parents did not go through the refugee processing system. Asylees and Refugees have similar but separate legal distinctions according to the U.S. government. A Washington Post headline did once say that they were refugees, which according to the legal definition is incorrect and misleading. Refugees are selected by the UN, an embassy, or by an NGO, while asylees are people who have already arrived in the U.S. and want to apply for asylum status.
The Tsarnaevs came here as young men and were radicalized in the U.S.A., as opposed to being terrorists who came to the country disguised as refugees.
5) “We are taking in too many of them already”
There are 4 million refugees displaced from the Syrian conflict that are registered by the UNHCR. The president has vowed to take in 10,000 of them this year.
6) “Muslim countries don’t even take in any refugees, why should we? They should help their own people.”
Turkey (1.9 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Jordan (629k), Saudi Arabia (100-500k), Iraq (247k), and the United Arab Emirates (242k) are the top countries with hosted Syrian refugee populations. The next closest Western country is Germany, with around 200,000 registered refugees. The U.S. has so far taken in 2,200.
The Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia are not perfect in their treatment however, since they have limited to no means of obtaining citizenship, permanent re-settlement, or work visas for refugees. Many seek refuge in Europe and the US as a result.
7) “Most terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have been committed by Muslims”
Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims.