On November 25, 2015, the newly elected government of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that it will take in 10,000 Syrian refugees. By February 2016 Canada expects to resettle an additional 15,000 refugees. These numbers represent a readjusted time schedule, as originally Canada had targeted to add all 25,000 by the end of 2015. This expedited resettlement taking place north of the US is similar to the efforts by the Obama Administration, and some of the Democrat Governors, which is being met by opposition from the Republican Party and the public en masse.
In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau is making good on a campaign promise to help Europe with an overflow of Syrian refugees. Many of the refugees are seeking to escape they war-torn homeland. But there are many that are also coming from various other parts of the Middle East. Even so, Canada is moving forward. According to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Minister John McCallum,
“We’re happy to take a little more time that originally planned to bring our new friends into the country.”
Of course that effort flies in the face of two separate polls confirming that a majority of Canadians do not want the refugees. Still the Canadian government is pressing forward. But to help ensure a smoother transition addition background security checks are being done in Jordan and Lebanon.
In America, the process is not going nearly as quickly. In fact Republicans, joined in the House of Representatives by 47 Democrats and in the Senate by several prominent Democrats like Senator Diane Feinstein, are seeking to pause the relocation process – possibly by 2 years. Sen. Feinstein is currently working on a Bill with Republican Senator Jeff Flake , and she previously stated,
“To rush on this is a big mistake. I may well [agree with a pause]. I need some time to know from an intelligence perspective, what is the situation? This may be a solution without a cause.”
The issue of concern for the Canadian public, Republicans in the US, and according to a recent poll by Gallup 60% of the American populace, is the potential for terrorists to infiltrate the nation. It was that kind of infiltration that lead to the most recent Paris attacks – which included a female suicide bomber. With the introduction of women suicide bombers in Europe, the initial proposed barrier to entry of single recruitment age males no longer guarantees any safety.
But even as President Obama assures the nation that thorough background checks will be in place before any refugees arrive, the threat to Americans remains unabated. The problem is not the background checks alone. The emergence of news of fake passports (one purchased via Facebook for roughly $2000 by a reporter for The Telegraph, another reported by Al Jezera to cost $800) only complicates the problem further.
Still the threat to the US is far greater. Regardless as to whether President Obama is able to force acceptance of the Syrian refugees on a nation that does not want them. Even if acceptable background checks can be made and passports verified, the threat will remain high. Because Canada is moving fast as America waivers.
In June 2006 the situation was made clear. 18 immigrants were arrested by the Canadian government for planning to blow up Canadian government buildings. It was revealed that the group had been training near Ft. Erie by the US border. 2 men, Syed Ahmed and Ehsanul Sadequee were arrested in Georgia after fleeing into the US. Then in April 2013, 2 men were arrested for planning to derail the trains of Via Rail Canada, specifically routes traveling from Toronto to New York City. Separately in a report from Washington State in 2007, some 105 people had been arrested trying to enter the US illegally from Canada.
The problem in a nutshell is that there are only some 2,000 Border Patrol agents to cover the 4,000 miles of the northern US border. Back in 1998 the Canadian Security Intelligence Service believed that over 50 terrorist cells were in Canada. By 2006 FBI officials were quoted as saying,
“Canada is the most worrisome terrorist point of entry and that al Qaida training manuals advise terrorists to enter the United States from Canada.”
The world has not gotten safer since that time. Though Al Qaeda was beaten back eventually, the vacuum created by the Obama Administration’s retreat from Iraq gave birth to ISIS. Many of the members of ISIS were originally members of Al Qaeda.
Yet, even as the threat was known in 2006, and terrorist actions have occurred as recently as 2013, the American public have been left without notification about the potential danger. If discussion about the border occurs in Congress, both politicians and the news media squarely center attention only on the Southern border with Mexico. Canada isn’t even an afterthought. But with the addition of 25,000 Syrian refugees rushed into Canada, as American eyes focus on the Obama Administration efforts, the danger to the nation has reached new highs.
Even the attempt by former Republican presidential candidate Gov. Scott Walker to suggest a Canadian border wall failed to gain US attention. More coverage on the story came from The Guardian, a UK news agency. American news media was silent. Just as it is right now.
The American and Canadian public understand the nature of the threat that could hide among the Syrian refugees. Both nations feel the need to act on the humanitarian aid they are known for internationally. What is not truly understood is exactly how dangerous the situation may become, or where the threat may originate.
The Paris attacks could be replicated in America. It just may happen in any one of 16 States, reaching from the northeast to northwest. Several of those States’ Governors just happen to be requesting Syrian refugees, like New York, Washington State and Vermont. But the mainstream media, and politicians, may not say a word until the worst has already happened.