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?