“The first Syrian refugee family to be relocated to the United States under the Obama administration’s new rapid relocation program is grateful for the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” Kansas City, Missouri’s KMBC TV reported on April 11.
“Ahmad al-Abboud said, ‘God bless Kansas City,’ where he and his wife and five young children arrived just days ago,” KMBC’s Kelly Eckerman reported in a video news segment.
“Through an interpreter, he said he feels absolutely wonderful that his family has been safe since they arrived,” the report continued. “They had been living in a storage closet in Jordan with no windows and little food. They’d escaped to Jordan after fleeing the civil war in Syria, where al-Abboud had been injured in a bomb blast and needed medical treatment.”
The al-Abboud family flew in largely under the radar, with little national media attention. Apparently, that was the plan intended by the Obama State Department, which is understandably attempting to cater to fellow Democrat (and some Republican) incumbents and candidates who are not anxious to have this contentious issue raised conspicuously during this election season.
The first notice most journalists received of this breaking story was from a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) blog post by Nayla Rush on April 8 entitled “How to Screen 600 Syrian Refugees a Day: A ‘Surge Operation.’”
The CIS was alerted to the new refugees by an article that appeared on April 7 in The Jordan Times. According to the Times story, the al-Abboud family represent the start of a new “surge operation” being kicked off by the Obama State Department. The Times noted that although 1,000 Syrians have been already resettled in the United States from Jordan, Alice G. Wells, the U.S. ambassador to Jordan, told the newspaper the seven-member al-Abbouds are “the first family to depart after having been granted refugee status by our US immigration officers during our three-month resettlement surge operation that began on February 1.” Last September, Ambassador Wells said, President Obama issued a directive ordering the admission of 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States by September 30, 2016.
Wells told reporters at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, that the al-Abboud family’s “new life in America ensures the children a safe and secure environment to live in, and where they will receive the medical attention that they require, the education opportunities that they need to grow, and share in the dignity that they deserve.”
Obama Refugee Express: 600/Day, 10,000 “at Least” by September
Wells explained, said the Times, that the surge operation, which will process 10,000 refugees by April 28, is part of “our effort to reach President Obama’s directive to send 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States by September 30, 2016, while also ensuring that every refugee accepted by the United States has been thoroughly screened and vetted through our rigorous security process."
The Jordan Times reported that the regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. embassy in Amman, Gina Kassem, said the number announced by the president is a global number, but the very vast majority will come out of Jordan. The 10,000 quota is a “floor and not a ceiling, and it is possible to increase the number," she told the press during a tour of the refugee processing facility.
According to Kassem, 600 refugees are interviewed on the site every day. Again, that is six hundred per day.
“Rigorous Security Process”?
“600 interviews a day sounds a bit extreme (to say the least),” observes CIS’s Nayla Rush. “Even speed-dating doesn't have such aspirations. How can a ‘rigorous security process’ be respected under such conditions? Furthermore, why the urgency? We understand that refugees face desperate conditions, but such security and judgment compromises seem irresponsible.”
Rush cogently remarks:
Let's put security issues to the side for now and do the math. Six hundred interviews a day for three months (February 1 to April 28), with a five-day work week, comes to a total of 36,000 interviews. It doesn't add up, unless out of 36,000 interviews only 10,000 are chosen — which equates to a 28 percent approval rate. Perhaps UNHCR staff is not doing such a great referral job after all. Or is it the ceiling that is getting higher as we speak?
That is a fair — and logical — question. As The New American has repeatedly reported, the Obama administration’s own top counter-terrorism and intelligence officials have publicly stated there is no way that they can vet the incoming “refugees”; they can’t even verify their nationality, where they have come from, what their criminal or terrorist past may be, or even if they legally qualify for refugee status, as opposed to the tens of millions of “migrants” who wish to come here.
The Paris terror attacks and the EU's horrific refugee/migrant tsunami caused sufficient alarm to force the Obama administration to put its planned "surge" on pause for a while. However, it obviously has decided that Americans are now sufficiently preoccupied with election campaigns and other news to allow the Refugee Express to surge forward.
Photo of Ahmad al-Abboud: AP Images