Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Are you concerned about Iraqi refugees in U.S.?
Remember when President Bush told us we should fight the terrorists abroad so we don't have to fight them at home? Why then, is the United States opening the door to 7,000 Iraqi refugees this year, some of whom, analysts suggest, could pose a security risk?

Security Analyst Clark Kent Ervin told me that while he thinks the odds that these refugees would do harm are low, "there is a security risk, of course. It took only 19 people to perpetrate 9/11, so among the 7,000 Iraqis we're talking about here, it certainly is possible that a given person could be a terrorist."

How will the Department of Homeland Security properly vet thousands of refugees hoping for asylum in the United States? How realistic is it that someone could pose as a refugee and make his or her way to U.S. soil with intent to cause harm?

Strict screening measures will be put in place: the State Department identifies refugees, then the Department of Homeland Security screens them by interviewing asylum seekers, checking their family histories and even their friends, all part of an effort to make sure they don't have any terrorist ties or plans to harm American citizens.

For what it's worth, Congressman Steve King, a Republican from Iowa, seems more concerned about the United States' southern border than anyone we let in from Iraq.

"If I were trying to get into the United States and I were al Qaeda or a terrorist, I think I would work my way into people working their way across that southern border, rather than trying to get qualified through an intense vetting process for a small number, a relatively small number of people that would be coming from Iraq," he said.

The Federal Government has been under a lot of pressure to accept more refugees from Iraq. In the last four years, the United States has taken in fewer than 500 refugees of an estimated 3.5 million Iraqis who are displaced. Syria and Jordan have taken the bulk of those who have left Iraq.

Edina Lekovic of the Muslim Public Affairs Council finds the security concerns absurd. "This isn't an insurgent forgiveness program. We need to give time to have security screenings take place. We shouldn't look with paranoia; we should look with empathy," she said.

No doubt this is a debate that will grow stronger. This year, the number is 7,000, but as many as 20,000 Iraqi refugees could arrive in the United States next year, according to the U.S. State Department. Are you concerned?
Posted By Randi Kaye, CNN Correspondent: 10:13 PM ET
So if I understand it correctly, we have about 20,000 US Troops planning to be deployed to Iraq and now possibly 20,000 Iraqi refugees planning to come to the US.....Sounds like a wash to me.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 11:03 PM ET
No. It's a piece of cake compared to other issues. Did you know that 20% of Brazil's rainforest has been cut down over the past 40 years?
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 11:07 PM ET
Hi Randi,
Yes, to a certain degree, it's realistic to think an Iraqi refugee could do us harm. However, you could say that of anyone from anywhere who arrives in our country legally or illegally. It's Russian Roulette on one hand, but we are a country of open arms, so a balance must be achieved. Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:49 PM ET
I dont want them to come here but where are they to go ? we went there with a faulty intelligence and destroyed their meager homes. It is easy to suspect them from the comfort of our homes but think if someone does us the same thing at our home and force us out and we have no where to go what would we do?
Secondly I think the terrorits are here anyway and they may sneak in from the south easily. So we re not safe anyway.
Posted By Anonymous John , Woodbridge, NJ : 11:50 PM ET
We owe it to the Iraqi people to allow them a chance to rebuild a life in the United States, it's the least we could do.
Posted By Anonymous Cora, Vancouver, Washington : 11:50 PM ET
If the rebuild of Irak begins, sure will
win more than a war does.
Posted By Anonymous Eric Delgado, San Juan, Puerto Rico : 11:52 PM ET
ARE YOU KIDDING ME! What a Endless Travesty.! Sure and why don't I just let the refugees eat my food, drink my water and sleep in my bed while millions of United States born citizens go hungry, without health care and freeze due to the high cost of energy. Nothing like a slap in the face to the thousands of soldiers how have paid the ulitmate sacrafice. This is a whole new meaning to Social Security. Our country is in a disasterous state and only the AMERICAN vote will turn it around. Let's hope it isn't too late. Maybe they can camp put at Crawford Ranch! Dubya should start getting those steel quanzit huts up now.
Posted By Anonymous AnnaMarie, Livingston, Montana : 11:57 PM ET
I feel this is another stupid move by the US. I am sure they will get all the state aid that they will need and we the people of this country will be paying for there care. I major concern is how do we know that they are a threat to the security of this country. Just another half baked idea by the government to put us at risk and drain money to refugees that will take advantage of the poor goverment system that just throws out money to these refugees. We cannot support our own people in this country ( both in aid and health insurance). Has this goverment lost what little mind they have left.

The potential of futher threats to our national security will only increase with these people.

The US has to stop helping out other countries and start helping the people in this country.

In general no more free rides for refugees.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Los Angeles, Ca : 11:58 PM ET
When will the US wake up- we are putting ourselves at risk accepting Iraqi refugees. We cannot take care of the 745K homeless in our own country - so why are taking on other who will need (and get aid)??
Posted By Anonymous Karol Portola Valley California : 12:05 AM ET
What are we, crazy? Should we trust the new Iraqi government to have done a background check and to process the refugees with the assurance that they're not sending over any terrorists? Obviously the U.S. immigration service isn't running a very tight ship either. I don't trust them to know who the heck is coming over here, but I trust the Iraqi officials even less.
Posted By Anonymous xtina chicago IL : 12:05 AM ET
First, President Bush is delusional if he thinks that we will never face another terror attack just because we invaded Iraq and are killing people over there. He has totally forgotten the guy who hit us in the first place.

Second, I have NO confidence that the idiots in the government will properly screen anyone who applies for entry into this country when the immigration service offers bonuses for "expediting" the paperwork and simply rubberstamps applications.

Third, Steve King is correct that the Mexican border allows anyone into the country that is willing to walk in, not counting the drug runners who simply drive across.

Fourth, with regard to Edina Lekovic's view that this isn't "an insurgent forgiveness program", and I realize that there are innocents involved here, I want nothing to do with bringing religious zealots who are willing to kill others in the name of Allah here. This is not paranoia, it's common sense!

Bottom line, this government under President Bush is totally incompetent to accomplish much of anything in a safe and secure manner.
Posted By Anonymous Tony Gettysburg, Pa : 12:07 AM ET
I believe the United States should take in refugees from Iraq. I served in Iraq during OIF and saw how many of the people in Iraq have had their lives destroyed and family members killed. Many of the Iraqi's have been innocent bystanders as their country has been overrun by terrorist and they have paid everyday for this war and will continue to pay, just as American families who have lost loved ones will continue to pay...even after this war is over and done. If the Department of Homeland Security takes it job seriously and does screen all refugees before they are allowed to enter the United States, then I believe we should allow them to come. I would much rather have a fully screened and documented Iraqi than an illegal alien in the country any day. President Bush owes the Iraqi people something and the American people are owed something. Maybe by bringing our two cultures together, we can see that we are really not that different.
Posted By Anonymous Francheska Carrollton, GA : 12:09 AM ET
Dear Sir
I just saw your segment on the iraqi doctor and his wife trying to get into the country. My wife have a large house in the mountains that is very large and will accomodate him and his wife. Also being in an out of the way place the one hospital closest to us is always looking to hire doctors. Maybe with a place to and a job already in place maybe he could be one of the 7000 to come to the us. It will cost the government nothing I will provide for them. Please let me know if this note was read by anybody.

Robert Russell
Posted By Anonymous Robert Russell, Kernville, ca : 12:09 AM ET
Yes, I would be concerned about thousands of Iraqi refugees. I'm not convinced that most Iraqis even like the USA. I think they need to be closer to resolving the conflict before they even begin to discuss bringing anyone over here. Backround checks and security will have to be extensive. If the government wants to help refugees, why don't they turn to those who are truely in need like Darfur and other starving nations. And, at least those pouring in from our southern borders are only being accused of ditching taxes, not trying to blow us all up. Thanks for the story.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago,Il : 12:34 AM ET
Look at what is going on in UK. By accepting so many Iraqis refugees, we are moving the war on terror to our soil. However, we are in debt to Iraqis. I don't know what is right now.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Naperville, IL : 12:43 AM ET
Actually, I'm more concerned about the 'illegals' (humans, drugs, and guns) that are currently flooding the USA and diminishing our limited resources.

I'm more concerned about the damage that we have done to the ME and to ourselves with policies that have disrupted the whole 'global neighborhood' being part of the problem instead of part of the solution, while the unintended consequence grow and effect REAL PEOPLE.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista : 12:53 AM ET
It seems logical that in order to sneak into the US, there are plenty of "easy" ways that do not involve getting selected as a refugee - and in such a small group of people. Also, by giving a few Iraqis a chance to experience what we all take for granted, we can only hope some of them will take the concepts we love back home with them and help build their country. I think the only true way to spread democracy is by showing people why we value our lives in the US so much.
Posted By Anonymous Sammi, NYC : 1:06 AM ET
The influx of Iraqi refugees into our country certainly should concern us all however we have high school students who are plotting terrorist attacks on their own friends and teachers every day. We have sex offenders and child molesters who seek to harm and murder our children. We have road ragers and identity theives causing millions of dollars worth of damage to our citizens each year.
In actually there is no end to the possible harms that can enter into our lives on a daily basis.
Yes---I'm a bit concerned about the number of Iraqi people entering our country yet somehow I have to wonder if they are any more threat than many things that I encounter and deal with on a day to day schedule. Terrorism has caused chaotic confusion in our society. Everything has to be terrorist related. Let's just chill a little and see what each day brings. I hope and pray that America will never be attacked again and that the word terrorist will be removed from the dictionary!
Posted By Anonymous Zann Martin, Tennessee : 1:24 AM ET
It's not the refugees that I'm worried about I'm sure there are hundreds of Iraqi's that would make fine law abidding citizens. I'm more worried about the agency that is supposed to be screening them. Homeland security has been a joke since it was thought of, they are irresposnbile and full of excuses how can we trust them with our security? Doesn't anyone remember Brown's good job?
Posted By Anonymous Rebecca, Orleans LA : 8:28 AM ET
Currently the Bush Administration is shoving terrorists and this imminent threat of world domination down Americas throats and deeming the occasional american citizen an enemy combatant...So it sort of makes you wonder what they will come up with next when these "enemies" are walking down our streets......
Posted By Anonymous Marissa,independence,MO : 8:50 AM ET
I have to agree with Congressman King's concern about the US's southern border as a way a terror(s) would probably enter our country. If an individual wants to get into the US, the complex refugee screening of Iraq refugees is not the way to become invisible.

Historically, the US has not treated refugees well. During the industrial revolution Italians, Irish, Polish and Jews, etc. were discriminated as hotheads and lower class individuals. These immigrants are the people who have made this country so great!

Also, look how the US treated the American Japanese during WWII by placing them in concentration camps. I also remember my German grandmother telling me they changed their German church service to English so not to be accused of unpatriotic practices.

I think we also forget we invaded Iraq. The compensation for the death of Iraq love ones is pathetic and the idea of not allowing more Iraqi refugees is just as pathetic.

I understand our governments concern for security reasons. It will be just more people for them to track, wiretap as well as keep under surveillance.

As a country built on immigrants, I am ashamed to say we have become arrogant. The fear of 911 may forever mark our conscious when it comes to individuals of Middle Eastern decent. Or will be subside in years to come like the Japanese, Germans and Russians? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, we are still in a brutal war in Iraq or is it in Afghanistan? Or is it with al Qaeda? Or is it with the Taliban? Or is it with Iran?
Posted By Anonymous Shaorn D., Indianapolis, IN : 9:35 AM ET
I'm more concerned about the millions of illegal mexicans that are crossing our southern border. And even more concerned that our government protects the drug smugglers and gives them immunity from prosecution.
Posted By Anonymous Perry, Dallas, Texas : 9:41 AM ET
Apparently anyone can come into the country anyway, so what's 7000 more? Sorry for the cynacism. Part of me says we need to help our fellow humans because it's just the right thing to do. Part of me says we are doing a pretty bad job of helping our own citizens and dealing with the illegal immigrant problem already. And until the second issue is settled, we cannot adequately even begin to tackle the first one of helping more outsiders wanting into the country no matter how nice it looks for us on television or how good it makes us feel.
Posted By Anonymous TA Cheramie, Berwick, LA : 9:45 AM ET
I believe we should accept some Iraqis our invasion has displaced; it is the right thing to do. These people should be thoroughly screened, by independent panels of US citizens as well as military and government bureaucrats with all the background investigation necessary to assure we aren't bringing the devil to our doorstep.

A provisional residency, followed by a chance to earn permanent citizenship, would give the innocent and deserving Iraqis a new chance, without blindly throwing open a one way door to potential troublemakers. Those who wish to assimilate and become Americans, adopting our customs and our values, will be the ones who pass on the loyalty to this country to their children, and a new generation grows up knowing freedom rather than fanaticism.

Again, we are overcrowded, especially with the indigent, who rely on the largesse of the government and the involuntary tithe of the citizen taxpayer. We have been subject to almost unlimited invasion by Mexicans and South American illegal aliens, none of which submitted to any type of background check before hoisting himself over the fence and in one form or another, onto the public assistance teat. We must protect our interests, the public who will have to absorb and support them, by excluding those who don't truly want to become Americans. An aggressive, widespread sweep of current illegal immigrants, and a draconian implementation of anti-illegal immigration laws on the local as well as state levels, is critical if we are to maintain a stable and cohesive American society.

I don't want to find that the cultural norms in a given town in this country, include headscarves, Islam, and separation of male and female to the detriment of (always) the female. No, they must accept that they will be required to adopt the western norms as their own, just as we would expect to abide by their cultural standards in their country.

By rounding up and deporting three illegal Mexicans for every one Iraqi accepted here as a potential citizen, we not only free up jobs for legal immigrants (as well as some American citizens) but we send the message that our laws are to be respected.

Let's prepare to welcome those who are here to become one with us, while barring the door to those who are here to harm us. And importantly, let's make room for their welcome, by kicking out the squatters who have homes and villages to go back to.
Posted By Anonymous Robyn, Pittsville MD : 9:50 AM ET

I am concerned and conflicted. I am concerned because I don't know that I trust our government to do a good job of screening and I am conflicted because we invaded Iraq without an invitation to do so and caused a lot of people a lot of grief. I am concerned about how they will be treated once they are here and that we will have problems like in the UK where the youth will become radicalized and we will have home grown terrorists. Then again,we have plenty of native born terrorists and whackos that blow up goverment buildings and isolate themselves in mountain enclaves waiting for Armagedden. And look at the injustice suffered by Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII because of unfounded fears about treason. The list could go on and on. So yes I am concerned, but I am not pleased with myself for feeling this way.

Several years ago I was helping out in my daughter's classroom and the teacher asked me to read a story that one of the students had written. The author was a young refugee from Southeast Asia who had escaped by boat. She told her story in pictures--her family was shown in a boat and then pirates came and attacked them. The next picture was of a boat with an American flag. They were saved and were so grateful. I was crying by the time I finished. Perhaps that is what we are missing here--our perception of us coming by boat with our flag flying to save people who will be grateful to us. Instead we fear we will be hated and the refuge that we provide turned into a training grounds for terrorists. As always, there is no simple answer.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 10:51 AM ET
Well where else are they supposed to go?
Posted By Anonymous Lindsay from Seattle : 11:39 AM ET
No more concerned than I am about immigrants from any other country.

As for terrorism, they can come from Iraq, any other country, and even from our own country.

Everyone entering the United States needs to go through security clearing whether they are from Iraq or any other country.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 12:09 PM ET
How about accomodating Iraqi refugees on a U.S.-owned island such as Guam or the Virgin Islands, so that we do not have to worry about more terrorists coming into the continental U.S.? Wouldn't that be a win-win situation?
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 12:15 PM ET
If America did not accept refugee's then my grandparents and mother would have never gotten here after WWII. I think this is what America is about. I think this will actually make America stronger, smarter and beter equiped. I have to say, my grandparents never received "aid". They came here paid for by a farmer in North Dakota and worked for him for 5 years to pay back their debt. That is what America should be about. Helping out, and working hard to make a good life.
Posted By Anonymous Renae, Appleton, WI : 1:18 PM ET
I think that everyone who voted George W into office should give up their homes to an innocent Iraqi family who had absolutely no hand in this travesty at all.

It's good to have selfish self-preservation instincts if you are an animal or desperate to survive, but the ignorant citizens of this country who whine about our own country's problems, spewing off made-up statistics, obviously don't realize how good we have it compared to most of the worlds's human beings.

George W's ego might be responsible for this travesty, but we can't blame George, himself, because it's too obvious that HE didn't know any better--even HE couldn't have done this on purpose.

So I guess we should blame the American voters who are responsible for his representation of us. Those of us who did not vote for him are still citizens of the country who did this horrible, selfish thing, whether we like it or not. George is like the crazy drunk brother who makes everyone laugh at the holidays and embarrases the family the rest of the year--but he's still our brother--like it or not.

I feel horrible for what's happening to those people, and, as a US citizen I am not so focused on what more I can horde for myself as some others are.
Posted By Anonymous chris manchester, nh : 1:59 PM ET
There are thousands of National Guard on the border of the United Sates and Mexico, patrolling the border to prevent ilegal immigration - so the Federal Government contradicts itself to allow Iraqi refugees into our country?! Where is the logic in that? If that's the case, why not just import the entire country into our so called "democracy" instead of going over to Iraq and trying to estabish a "democracy" in a country that will never establish this lifestyle. This is a total contradiction to president Bush's tactics in regards to this war.
Posted By Anonymous David Medrow, Columbia,TN : 2:08 PM ET
The bottom line is there are thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens who have been affected. Imagine if the bombings were occuring in New York City instead of Bagdad. How would you feel then? This is the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave. Let's not forget that is what we are supposed to stand for.
Posted By Anonymous Amber W.Va. : 2:19 PM ET
I am against allowing any Iraquis to
come to this country. I feel we are
putting our country at greater risk.
Are we ready as a nation to except a
suicide bomber in our cities.The
president is making a big mistake and we will be fighting them on our soil.
Posted By Anonymous Laura Graff, Great Falls,Mt : 3:34 PM ET
Why take the chance (& the extra vetting cost) at all?
Let other countries accept these Iraqi refugees. There are plenty of refugees from other parts of the world that the USA could accept.
Posted By Anonymous Maurice Seguin Ottawa Ontario : 3:38 PM ET
Why should we continue to let dangerous immigrants into the United States. It is now time to close the borders and restrict immigration severly. Not only do we have to worry about Mexican aliens, but the sorry as hell Iraq scum. Keep them out!
Posted By Anonymous David Harrison, Dallas, TX : 3:43 PM ET
I believe America has a moral responsibility to accept refugees from Iraq. After the kind of situation the US led invasion has directly or indirectly created in that country, I think it is the least that we could do.

According to a recent study around 600,000 Iraqis have died due to war related causes, since the war started in 2003. Some other conservative studies estimate this figure to be around the 100,000 mark. Whatever the number is, it is awfully clear the Iraq has become the most dangerous place to live on the face of the earth.

It only pains me that all this loss, destruction and pain was for a bunch of non-exitant, never found WMDs.
Posted By Anonymous Abi Minneaolis Minnesota : 3:50 PM ET
Why not let the fox into the hen house!! Homeland Security can't even run their own house in a manner that's remotely close to proper, yet you want to have them run security checks on 20,000 Iraqi's, didn't one of the top echelon of Homeland Security get arrested a few weeks ago?? THEIR OWN INTERNAL SECURITY IS A JOKE!! COME ON AND ONE TIME IN YOUR IDIOTIC LIFE PRESIDENT BUSH, STOP GIVING THIS COUNTRY TO A BUNCH OF COPORATE ELITES AND REFUGEES, ISN'T MORE THEN 20 MILLION ILLEGALS ALREADY IN THIS COUNTRY ENOUGH ALREADY!! YOU SAY WE CAN'T DEPORT 20 MILLION ILLEGALS.. WHY NOT.. MEXICO DID!!!!!!!! GET REAL!!!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous Michael Sewall Salisbury, NC : 3:52 PM ET
We need to call a halt. We need to take care of the people that are here before we make room for more. There are even children living in the streets. What is the government thinking of. Just because they have jobs and are living the good life, there are many out here that are barely getting by. I think we should close the doors until we have a full catch up here.
Posted By Anonymous Runelle Shriver, Champaign, Illinois : 4:05 PM ET
narcistic behavior along with turning the other cheek will get us no where. I am speechless for this situation.... We can't welcome people from Mexico that contribute to our society but we can from Iraq. No comment.
Posted By Anonymous hb, Pensacola, FL : 4:16 PM ET
We created this mess; we need to do our part to help these poor, suffering people, particularly the liberals, the Christians and those who are in danger because they helped us. Our war made iraq and unliveable hell; great work Bush.
Posted By Anonymous Todd Peterson; Washington DC : 4:21 PM ET
We MUST NOT take displaced Iraq people who are displaced for many reasons. One could be trained to be a suicide bomber. Many could be trainers for bombers who are already in the U.S. We have taken in the criminals of Cuba Saddam allowed the criminals of Iraq to be set free to cause harm to U.S.
forces. Let France take them since they know how to surrender or maybe Chavez can get some oil drillers out of the group.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Myles Akron, Ohio : 5:03 PM ET
while we are on the subject of rejecting refugees. let's stop admitting saudis into the US. i mean most of the 911 hijackers were saudis. only makes sense right?

if admitting saudis is allowed, and it is, surely it's not risky to admit iraqis. they might have lost everything including family members, but they must appreciate all the schools that have been built.
Posted By Anonymous frank, vancouver, bc : 5:25 PM ET
CLOSE THE DOOR/GATE. SHUT! no more people!
Posted By Anonymous Mark, San Francisco, CA : 5:32 PM ET
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