The recent terrorist attacks in Paris showed the world just how vulnerable a free society can be. They’re also a reminder that the Obama Administration attempt to contain the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has failed. That is why the House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would pause the Syrian refugee program until we can be certain no one coming here is a threat to USA.
In July, the Antigua and Barbuda Government has confirmed that 12 Syrians who entered Antigua lawfully later sought refugee status in the US Virgin Islands.
“We do know that 12 Syrians entered Antigua & Barbuda lawfully then, apparently, took a vessel to the US Virgin Islands, and when they arrived there, attempted to claim refugee status or that they were persecuted or something to that effect in Syria, and therefore they were seeking to remain in the United States lawfully,” Government Chief of Staff Lionel Hurst said.
“To be quite frank, I don’t know where it has gotten since that time because it was not discussed in Cabinet,” he added.
His statements follow a claim by former chairman of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Leon Chaku Symister, that Antigua & Barbuda issued visa waivers to 53 Syrians and after the developments in the US Virgin Islands, the FBI had to intervene. Hurst, instead, reiterated the ruling administration’s no-refugee stance, which was adopted several weeks ago by Cabinet.
“We made it very clear that we are not in the business of receiving people from other parts of the world, who are fleeing the kinds of destruction we are seeing in that part of the world to come to Antigua only to try to get to the United States. Every sovereign state has the right to protect its borders and that is what the Antigua & Barbuda government has done,” Hurst said.
Right now, thousands of families continue to pour out of Iraq and Syria to avoid civil war and the horrors of ISIS. Innocent men, women and children of all faiths and backgrounds are seeking asylum in Western countries, including the Caribbean, and America has a long history of helping people in need.
The sad truth, though, is that there are many people who would like to take advantage of our compassion. Terrorists have made it clear that they intend to infiltrate this refugee population to reach the West and carry out other attacks. Most refugees pose absolutely no threat to us, but we simply don’t have a sufficient process for figuring out who each person is and verifying his or her background.
This is a developing story, as refugees must now find alternative ways to leave ISIS territory. The Caribbean offers a unique opportunity for refugee to start a new life, and easy access to US territories such as the USVI and Puerto Rico.
Sources: ARA NEWS/CNN
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