McCaul: Admitting Thousands of Syrian Refugees 'Very Dangerous and Reckless'

By Susan Jones | February 20, 2015 | 7:13am EST

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairs  the House Homeland Security Committee.(CNSNews.com/Penny Starr)

(CNSNews.com) - "Why in the world do we have a federally sanctioned government program to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States that could pose a greater risk to Americans?"

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said he is trying to find out.

"This is a very dangerous and reckless policy, in my judgment," McCaul told Fox News's Sean Hannity Thursday night.

"I sent a letter to National Security Adviser Susan Rice asking her to explain why she's doing this and to try to stop this from happening. My job as chairman of Homeland Security is to protect the American people. I believe this will put Americans at risk."

According to McCaul, "ISIS has telegraphed that they want to exploit the refugee process to gain entrance into the West and United States. And we need to stop that."

Last week, McCaul chaired an oversight hearing where three witnesses (one from the FBI, one from the Department of Homeland Security and one from the National Counter Terrorism Center) agreed that bringing thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States would put Americans at risk if those refugees are not properly vetted.

"And the FBI admitted they don't have the databases to properly vet these refugees," McCaul told Hannity.

"I was actually over there, Sean, and the Jordanian minister of interior told me he doesn't know who these people are. So why in the world -- you know, we're working hard to keep these foreign fighters out of the United States. Why in the world do we have a federally sanctioned government program to bring thousands of Syrian refugees into the United States that could pose a greater risk to Americans?

The FBI told McCaul that part of the problem is the lack of an "intelligence footprint" on the ground in Syria, which means "we really don't know who these individuals are."

"And we can't even monitor them when they come here," he continued. "Remember...we had refugees coming in from Iraq, and we had two terrorists that killed Americans in Iraq that were allowed to come into the United States. And that's with all the intelligence on the ground we had in Iraq.

"This is, again, I think a very dangerous policy."

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the State Department expects to quadruple the number of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. this year and next.

"The United States has admitted 524 Syrians since 2011," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Friday, Feb. 13. "We’re likely to admit 1,000 to 2,000 Syrian refugees for permanent resettlement in Fiscal Year 2015 and a somewhat higher number, though still in the low thousands, in Fiscal Year 2016," she said.

Overall, President Obama has authorized the admission of 70,000 refugees to the United States in Fiscal Year 2015," with the most (33,000) coming from the Near East and South Asia, a region that includes Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and many other countries where Islamic radicals flourish.

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