Syrian refugee numbers expanding, but hard to pin down why
Posted by Ann Corcoran on August 25, 2016
It is easy enough to follow the US State Department data reported at the Refugee Processing Center that keeps the numbers on resettled refugees and tells us where they have gone. (It doesn’t archive successful asylum seekers or any other legal program.)
So, people are looking around and saying there sure are more than 10,000 Syrians here already. One immigration researcher thinks Obama is using ‘Humanitarian parole’ on the sly, others disagree. But, they all agree that other methods are being used to bring Syrians to our shores (or letting them stay) in ever larger numbers.
Here is some useful information at LifeZette:
A discrepancy in statistics provided by the Department of Homeland Security has led an attorney for a Washington-based legal group to question whether administration officials are waiving Syrians into the United States by other means.
Ian Smith, of the Immigration Reform Law Institute, obtained the data through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. It shows that U.S. officials as of Jan. 25 had interviewed 9,800 refugee applicants since fiscal year 2014. That is nearly twice as many people as the combined number of approvals (4,774) and denials (417) during that time.
“The discrepancy is very, very large, and they go back quite a ways.”
Smith speculated that the Obama administration is using “humanitarian parole” to admit Syrians who do not meet the eligibility requirements for refugees. That is the same method by which the Obama administration has allowed entry to the unaccompanied minors who have arrived en masse at the U.S.-Mexican border over the past few years.
“I really think that’s the case, because that’s what we’ve been seeing with the Central American Minors programs,” Smith said.
Some think that they don’t need parole as they are finding other creative ways to bring in thousands and thousands more.
[Nayla] Rush [Center for Immigration Studies] said she believes some Syrians will end up coming through other ways, however. She pointed to a conference in February in which Beth Ferris, a Georgetown University professor and humanitarian refugee policy adviser to the United Nations secretary-general, said there are “alternative safe pathways” that could inflate the number of fleeing Syrians entering America to 200,000. Possibilities include giving scholarships and extending the ability of Syrian-Americans to sponsor relatives beyond their immediate family members to include aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
In addition, some 8,000 non-refugees from Syria who are already in the United States — both legally and illegally — have been allowed to remain under a program called Temporary Protected Status. The Department of Homeland Security recently renewed that status for another year.
Temporary Protected Status is a one (of several!) legal immigration programs that need to go! There is nothing temporary about it. Click here for our archive on TPS.
I haven’t said this in awhile, but the next time you hear someone (a politician maybe) say that LEGAL immigration is good but illegal isn’t. Tell them they don’t know what they are talking about because we have some egregious LEGAL programs that need to be scrapped!
BTW, I have just added a new tag that I think will come in handy from now on: ‘where is Congress.’
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