tv Hearing on Fiscal Year 2016 Refugee Resettlement Program CSPAN October 4, 2015 1:40pm-3:41pm EDT
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school meals and growing up and burned fish sticks and mystery meat tacos. >> there is a vital role that the federal government plays. it's vital for students with disabilities. >> students and teachers can go to our website, studentcam.org. tips,ill find teacher rubrics to help them incorporate into their classroom. more information about prizes, incorporating c-span video, and contact information if they have further questions. is january 20, 2016 which is a year away from the next president of the inauguration. next, a senate subcommittee hearing on the obama administration's plan to admit or refugees into the u.s. from syria and other countries. those testifying including officials from the state department am a health and human
services, and homeland security. this is two hours. >> good afternoon. thank you all for being with us. that senator darlington be with us. we have aboutns: going on out so we were able to vote early and come on by and sorry we did not get started right on time. i would like everyone to be present and watch the hearing without obstruction. it people stand up and block the views of those behind them or speak out of turn, it is not fair or considerate to others. officers will remove those individuals from the room. before we begin with opening statements i want to explain how we are going to proceed. we have one panel of witnesses today. i will make an opening statement followed by opening statements .rom senator schumer
each witness will have five minutes for an opening statement. we will begin the first round of questions and each senator continues to continue with questions we will have a second round of questions. if there are no objections, i will start with my opening statement. the hearing will focus on the administration's proposal refugee settlement program for fiscal year 2016. weevil examine economic and security implications of the administration's plant to be significantly the number of refugees to nearly 200,000 over two years, including a large increase in syrian resettlement. too often any discussions of any particular immigration program lock -- lack broad or numerical context. all in addition to our huge annual intake of one million
green card holders each year. foreign workers and 500,000 students we have. before addressing the policy question of whether or not to admit additional groups of refugees, we should first consider a broader immigration circumstance that we have in our country. this week's march the 50th anniversary of the 19 65 immigration act -- nationality act. pew research is done exhaustive studies on the act and here are some of their findings and findings from the senses and the dhs. in the last five decades 59 million immigrants and enter the united states. immigration, including the children of post-1965 immigrants have added 72 million to our population of 330 million. 1/5 of the world's immigrants living united states. no other country has taken in more than one in 20.
we have taken and six times for immigrants in all of latin america in 10 million more than the european union it was more than 50% rate of population. we permanently resettled 1.5 million immigrants from muslim countries and united states since 9/11. 211970 fewer than one in million americans were foreign-born. today it is one in seven. it will soon eclipsed the highest record several -- ever on the country. six in 10 decades of the 20th century witnessed immigration declines. centurycade of the 21st will see rapidly increasing immigration, with each decade setting all-time records. after four decades of large still -- large-scale immigration
few polls that show by more than three to one margin the public would like to see immigration reduced rather than increased. according to rasmussen, 7% of americans support resettling 100,000 middle eastern refugees annually in united states. a more recent study from the ,eorgetown professor eric gould both really knowledgeable experts, have linked this huge increase in the foreign labor supply to the crippling wage stagnation and joblessness that is affecting many of our workers. with that context in mind we must consider what our economic, social, and security infrastructure can responsibly handle. let's not forget we are presently dealing with our own hemisphere's immigration crisis. the situation in syria and throughout the middle east is a serious one but it cannot be
solved with immigrating large numbers of people from that region. while the united states may have a role to play in does have a role to play, such as establishing state -- safe stones in syria, it would be more appropriate to effectively support refugees in locations closer to their homes with a long-term goal of being able to return them safely to their homes. that is why the middle eastern nations clearly must take a larger role and a lead in resettling the region's refugees. it's not sound policy to encourage millions to abandon their home. resettling the region's fets within the region -- refugees within the region will produce long-term reforms and stabilization. it is also been reported that as many as three and for those
seeking entry into europe are not refugees from syria, but economic migrants. many from many different countries. in a "washington post" article, this is what they reported. "there are well-dressed iranian speaking farsi who insist their members of the persecuted yz idi's of iraq. their indians who do not speak area -- arabic the savior from damascus. there are somalis and tunisians from countries with plenty of poverty and violence but no war. it will come as no surprise that many migrants seem to be pretending they are someone else. the prize, after all, is the possibility of benefits and work in europe." we will have the same problem here and we do have the problem here. we must be cautious. the administration proposes ceiling of 75,000 refugees in
the next fiscal year. last week the administration announced it plans to accept at least a floor of 85,000 refugees next year and at least 100,000 the next year. here, those refugees can collect welfare benefits. recent statistics from the development -- department of health and human services 75% of refugees receive food stamps and more than half received free health care and cash benefits. for refugees from the least the numbers are even higher. more than 90% of recent middle eastern refugees draw food stamps and about 70% receive free health care and cash welfare. refugee settlement also comes with security risks as will the -- as we have witnessed with the
surge of ice is recruitment -- isis recruitment. anyone what he did have a serious discussion must ask the difficult questions about integration. how can we accomplish that? and community safety. this is true with respect to countries like syria or have little or no information about who the people are. no background information, no ability to determine whether they are radicalized now or might become radicalized after their arrival in the united states. the fbi assistant director for counterterrorism has testified that the united states does not have "the systems in place on the ground" in syria to collect enough information to properly screen refugees. that is pretty obvious. this subcommittee is investigating scores of examples of refugees want to commit acts
of terror or become involved with terrorist organizations. the economic and physical security of the american people must never be a secondary consideration. with worker pay stagnant, our entire meant programs on the edge of insolvency, law enforcement fighting increasing crime and schools and communities struggling to keep up, voters are justifiably worrying about the government's priorities and how we should conduct our business. that is what we will export today. senator, i'm glad you can be with us. i know you are knowledgeable on these issues and i would like to thank our witnesses who are the government that involved are the the agencies that handle these difficult issues every day and we look forward to their testimony. senator? senator durbin: thank you very much. my mother was an immigrant. from lithuania.
she was brought to america at the age of 2 with her brother and sister. my grandmother carried them off a boat in baltimore and put them on a train to what they considered to be the promised land, east st. louis, illinois. my grandmother did not take english very well that she was determined to have a better life for her children and her family. she worked hard, her whole family worked hard, and as her son i ended up with a full-time job. when you reflect on my background, my family's story, it's not just mine. it is america's story. we are a nation of immigrants. on the issue of refugees there are two members of the united states senate for the sons of refugees. one is running for president of the united states. i want to put this in context of we talk about issues. we're talking about real life
and real people. about thee talking worst humanitarian crisis of our time. almost 60ee crisis is million people who a been forcibly displaced from their homes around the world. syria is the epicenter. when they asked me what i think of when you say the term -- the words "vietnam war" my first impression is a photo image of a little girl, a victim of napalm. naked, running down a road towards the camera. crying with her arms extended. what is my image of syrian refugees? a three-year-old syrian boy who drowned in the mediterranean. i look at that little corpse that washed up on the shore and thought that is my grandson.
that is the image i take from the syrian refugee crisis. more than half of syria's 23 million people have been forced from their homes. are than 4 million syrians registered as refugees, including almost 2 million children. one than 10,000 syrian children have been killed. thousands are unaccompanied and separated from their parents. they are not economic migrants, they are refugees fleeing for their lives. somalia put it well and she wrote "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark. no one put their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land." the syrian refugee crisis is praise -- place a great strain on many countries. hostsn, -- lebanon now 1.2 million registered syrian refugees. the refugees per capita than any other country in the world. only 30% of the population.
jordan going through the same type of strain. do we have any obligation in the united states to face this?i think we did . history tells us we should. we have taken some positive steps to address this crisis. united states is the most generous donors to the refugees of any nation in the world. we are providing safe haven to hundreds of syrian visitors who were a lot of stay on a temporary basis for the war developed. after last year's hearing i held a hearing on syrian refugee crisis, the administration issued exemptions so they could stay and not returned to the danger. so far i'm of the u.s. has accepted about 1600 syrian refugees. 1600. a small number. may i join with 13 of the senators and asking the administration to admit 65,000
by the end of 2016. the administration is looking at 10,000. why does it take so long? our vetting process is very careful. it takes from 14 to 24 months after the initial interview for a refugee to be accepted in the united states. this notion, and you will hear it on the campaign trail that we just throw the doors open and say, board is not true at all. i have gone through a classified briefing and the background checks we impose on these people are very serious and very thorough, and they take a long, long time. germany has announced they are taking 800,000 refugees. their average time for vetting is four months. hours, 18-24 months. we are careful. if we are going to show we have a heart, we will be thoughtful about it. we will do everything seem possible -- fuming -- humanly possible to keep dangerous
people from coming to our country. what is the lesson? there is a lesson from world war ii. remember a ship called the st. louis? they came to our short with jews. they said if you don't take us, we will go back to europe and die. we did not take them. they returned to the holocaust. after the war we accepted hundreds of thousands of refugees. i think maybe some 400,000 came to the united states. soviet jews who were allowed to come to the country to avoid persecution, over 200,000. let me add when he came to cuban refugees, the numbers are about the fathers ofng two of our colleagues in united states senate, one of whom is running for president. the resettled more than 150,000 refugees from the former yugoslavia. i raise that point because there
is something that must be said. we are talking about many muslims to come to united states and become an important part of our country. in my building in chicago there are two bosnian muslims who are the hardest working people i know. so proud of their families and proud be part of this country. as we will find here from groups that send his statements, including a particular a letter signed by 400 faith leaders exposing strong opposition to any effort to limit the resettlement of muslim refugees. let me close by saying on an economic basis it is true. some computer for any help. i met for families just a few weeks ago in chicago. the statistics will tell us that the changes very quick. as soon as they can command enough of the english-language they are often working and working hard at some of the toughest jobs. some turn up to be successful. the cofounder of
google, former intel ceo andrew pioneer in the semiconductor industry, and steve jobs was the son of the syrian immigrant. i hope today is we reflect on some of these issues we reflect on history. i would like to introduce the members of the subcommittee. are you here? we stand. infled his home in syria 2013 after his house was shelled by a missile from the syrian army. he moved into another house of five other families and that house was shelled and destroyed as well. he moved to another neighborhood where bombs are being dropped. he then fled syria with his wife and two children. after a long and difficult journey he ended up in jordan for he applied for refugee status. after a long process he and his family came to united states on
june 16 of this year. he works two jobs. he was furniture during the day and he is a baker at night in order to support his family. he is not a terrorist and he is not a fiscal drain on america. we should be proud that our country has welcomed him and his family. that is what our refugee resettlement program is all about. i hope my colleagues in congress can understand that as a result of this hearing. thank you. . we are lookings: to establish a good sound policy and fulfill this country's responsibility in this regard. and it does so in a smart and effective way. did you have an opening statement senator grassley? i have arassley: statement i will put into the --ord and maybe a time flies >> mr. chairman?
i will have to leave little early for something i committed to but it wanted to put my statement to the record as well and another that senator durbin mentioned the work we've done to try to get more syrian refugees into our country. we've been moving at a slow pace and coming from the state that senator franken and i represent, we are so proud of our mung population. they fought on our side in the war in vietnam and now they are integrated into our community and thriving. we have very strong siberian and somali populations. -- liberian and somali populations. 90 of our fortune 500 companies were formed by immigrants. ourimmigrants -- 30% of nobel laureates were born in other countries. thank you, mr. chairman.
senator sessions: if the panel would stand and raise your right hand and take the oath. do you affirm that the testimony you are about to get before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth civility got? -- so help you god? introducing our witnesses for reference. full biographies are available on the committee website. directorarry bartlett, of admissions for the bureau of population, refugees, immigration at the department of state. he is a director of the refugee admissions office of the u.s. department of state bureau of population, refugees, and migration. he served various state department leadership positions and served in a variety of capacities with people. barbara strack.
she joined uscis as chief of refugee affairs division in 2005. she previously held positions with the national immigration forum. served as counsel to a u.s. senate subcommittee and in private practice of law in washington dc. he's with the department of homeland security. emrich,. matthew national security directed at the u.s. citizenship and immigration service. also with homeland security. he was selected as acting associate director, before he served as deputy associate director of fdn as an has ever 20 years of immigration, law enforcement, intelligence experience.
his civilian appointment, he served for eight years on active duty in the u.s. marine corps as a counterintelligence and infantry field. he also worked in baghdad as a human intelligence analysts for multinational forces iraq. we have mr. bob carey, director of the office of refugee resettlement. he most recently served as vice president of resettlement immigration policy and the international rescue committee, leading the agency to advocacy on refugee, immigration, and if they trafficking and community development policy issues. he served as chair of the refugee council, usa. this is a good panel with much experience and it and leading key agencies that are critical to how we handle the refugees.
please, give us your opening statement mr. barlett. mr. bartlett: thank you for holding this briefing in bringing attention to the importance of the u.s. refugee admissions program. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you with my colleagues in the department of homeland security and health and human services. and to update you on the measures we've taken around the world and providing new homes to some of the most vulnerable. according to the united nations high commissioner for refugees, the latest statistics are nearly 20 million refugees in the world. the vast majority of receive support for the countries to which they fled until they can voluntarily and safety return home. the nicest contributor the programs, the international committee of the red cross, the international organization of migration. and other organizations that provide protection and assistance to refugees until he can return home. in 2014, some 126,000 refugees
voluntarily repatriated to their countries of origin. that's the lowest number since 1983. a small number of refugees may be allowed to become citizens in the country to which they fled. you and smaller numbers, primarily those were the most vulnerable, will be resettled in a third country. less than 1% of all refugees are eventually resettled in third countries. united welcomes over half of these refugees. since 1975 americans welcomed over 3 million refugees from all over the world. the notice states refugee admission programs reflect highest values, generosity, and leadership. resettlement opportunities are focused on refugees who have immediate needs for durable and lasting solutions. while maintaining our leadership role and humanitarian protection, an integral part of this mission is to ensure that refugee resettlement opportunities go only to those
who are eligible for such protection and who are not known to present a risk to the safety and security of our country. accordingly, our program is committed to deterring and detecting fraud among those seeking to resettle in the united states. applicants are subject to more intensive security than any other type of traveler to the u.s. to protect against breast of the national security, the department the parts of the department of homeland security and collaborates with the centers for disease control and prevention to protect the health of u.s. bound refugees and the u.s. public. for the past three fiscal years the program has met its target for refugee arrivals, and unprecedented achievement in the program history. in 2016 the program logo to survey 5000 refugees, at least 10,000 of them will be syrians. the program enjoys substantial support from states and local
governments as well as the community members. the program resettled refugees to 48 states, 173 cities, 304 sites. the support of american nongovernmental organizations, charities, faith-based groups, and thousands of volunteers and supporters of the program and hundreds of communities across the country. recently the department estate has received an outpouring of interest from individuals, churches, and community organizations wishing to help the syrian refugee resettlement. with continued support of congress and the american people, refugee resettlement will remain a proud tradition for many years to come. thank you. chairman sessions, ranking members and this thing was members of the opportunity to testify today.
former the 10th anniversary of the refugee corp., a cadre of specially trained officers at uscis for dedicated to adjudicating applications for refugee status overseas. i am an honor to serve as the chief of the refugee affairs division of these 10 years and to work with the talented staff who are equally committed to the humanitarian mission of offering resettlement opportunities to refugees while safeguarding integrity of our program and our national security. this program is consistently benefited and supportive colleagues throughout the uscis a silente, including core, international staff, and fraud detection and national security directed. -- directorate. we also work closely across departments. the resettlement program has forged strong and deep relationships with colleagues and the law enforcement, national security, and intelligence communities and we continue to benefit enormously from their expertise, analysis, and collaboration.
it simply would not be possible to have a resettlement program of this size without this critical interagency infrastructure. as you know the united states has a proud and tradition of offering protection, freedom, an opportunity to refugees from around the world we live in fear of persecution and her left leg which in difficult conditions of temporary asylum. we remain dedicated to fulfilling this mission as an integral part of this to ensure that refugee resettlement opportunities go to those were eligible recess protection and did not present a risk to the safety and security of our country. we are committed to deterring and detecting fraud among those seeking to resettle a committee to employ the high security measures to protect against risks to our national security. by written testimony describes in detail the screening measures and safeguards that have been developed by the u.s. refugee admissions program and enhanced overtime. omitting enhancements for first employed in connection with iraq he refugee resettlement programs, they are now being
more broadly to -- applied more broadly. this entails biographic and biometric security checks and he refugee applicant is not approved for travel until the results of all required security checks have been obtained and cleared. in addition, we conduct individual and -- in person interviews to determine lgb refugee status. recognizing that well-trained officers play critical role in protecting the integrity of the refugee process, we place great emphasis on writing the highest quality training. this involves detailed training on specific refugee populations, including special training of the iraqi and syrian caseloads do it outside experts from the intelligence, policy, and economic communities participate. in every instance officers assess credit ability of applicants and at -- evaluate in testimony is consistent with known country conditions.
given the wide geographic scope of the u.s. refugee admissions program, including remote and sometimes difficult locations, we coordinate closely to schedule refugee interviews every quarter of the fiscal year. any typical quarter we will deploy over 100 staff and up to 16 or 17 different locations. as a result of these correlated we've succeeded in meeting the refugee admissions ceiling of 70,000 for third year in a row. looking forward to fiscal year 2016 we are preparing to work closely with the state department and other interagency partners to support a refugee admissions program of 85,000. including at least 10,000 syrian refugees. we will continue look for opportunities to improve instream and our operations while maintaining the integrity of the program and our national security. officerset with new joining the refugee corp., i talk with them about the united states long-standing tradition of offering protection to those fleeing persecution.
i look at our testing the stewards of this tradition for this time in this generation. we are committed to meeting this responsibly and preserving the american hallmark. in closing i would like to thank the subcommittee for this opportunity to testify and i would be happy to answer your questions. senator sessions: thank you. thank you for the opportunity to update you on the measures we are taking to ensure the security of the u.s. refugee admissions program. in addition to the security checks of my colleagues have described in depth in a written testimony that we apply to all refugees, uscis has started an additional layer of enhancement for refugee applicants. it is performed by headquarters based staff from the uscis fraud is -- front directorate. i would like to describe the the d.c.-based
element of the national security directorate and the intelligence division which is in close regular contact with our community partner, the dhs office of intelligence and analysis. they also have full-time liaison officers stationed at the fbi headquarters, national joint terrorism task force, interval, and the fbi terrorist screening system. -- we rely on these everyday connections to share information with law enforcement and intelligence are present the intelligence level, both proactively and when asked and these connections reinforce the established information sharing agreement that exists within the security rubric. before refugee applicants are scheduled for interview by uscis refugee officers in the field, syrian cases are reviewed at headquarters by a refugee affairs envision officer.
all cases that meet certain criteria are referred to the f s ns headquarters for additional research and review. researchx classified to synthesize an assessment to be used by the interviewing officer to read it provides gay context related to country conditions and regional activity and it is used by the interviewing officer to form a line of inquiry about eligibility. throughout the review process of the syrian refugee applicants, they engage with law enforcement and intelligence community members to obtain additional and clarifying information to assist in identity verification or to make sure activities will not adversely affect ongoing law enforcement investigations. when they identified terrorism-related information, nominates an individual or individuals for the watchlist
using standard interagency protocols or provide additional information to resisting records. intelligence analysts draft supports to alert law-enforcement agencies of information that meet standing requirements. we work very closely with the dhs office of intelligence analysis and many law enforcement and intelligence committee partners to identify options for new screening opportunities. we are doing this constantly. in addition to the checks i have described refugee applicants who traveled to the u.s. are screened at the port of entry as is the case with all individuals who travel to the united states. the screening of the port of entry is conducted by customs and border protection and transportation security administration. the humanitarian crisis in the middle east is severe and my staff and i are reminded on a daily basis of the strife and atrocities that are occurring in this area. they've been occurring for some
time and are occurring now. we are committed to always maintaining and seeking to enhance a thorough screening effort in close coronation with our partners so that we may maintain the integrity of the program on a national security. i look forward to your questions. senator sessions: mr. kerry? chairman sessions and established members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to testify on the responsibilities and thistle facilitating refugees in the united states. i will describe the role that we play in the resettlement program. refugee act of 1980 established the office of refugee resettlement within hhs and outline the u.s. commitment to humanitarian relief through resettlement of persons fleeing persecution on the basis of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion. since the passage of the act
over 3 million refugees from more than 70 countries have been provided safe haven in the u.s. along with the possibility of a new beginning and freedom from persecution and displacement. the departments of homeland security, state, and hhs work together to advance american humanitarian response to refugees through the u.s. wreckage admissions program. 2014, 140year thousand individuals were eligible for resettlement services through our programs. these programs assist refugees, cuban and haitian entrants, victims of torture, foreign-born victims of human trafficking, and special immigrant visa holders to become employed and self-sufficient as soon as possible after their arrival. it carries out its mission to serve refugees through grants and services administered by state governments and nonprofit organizations at an extensive public-private partnership network.
our grants are designed to facilitate refugees successful transition and integration into life in the united states. refugees arrive seeking skills and expenses and waste -- we strive to provide services necessary to deliver to those assets and talents. our funds support and a time transitional time limited support for medical services for individuals not eligible for other public benefits. through programs administered by state and nonprofit organizations or debt who provide cash and medical assistance to elderly populations for update months after their arrival in the u.s. all of the funds foster foster care programs for unregistered minors, and unaccompanied minor victims of severe wars or human trafficking. four provides funds to private supportit agencies to social services, including english-language instruction,
employment services, case management, social adjustment services, and interpreters. these funds are allocated based 2 -- prior to to prior years of arrival. our programs support economic development activities. these focus on financial literacy establishing credit, matching savings in support of business startups, educational goals, car purchases essential to employment, and business startups that in turn employ thousands of individuals. a portion participate in the volunteer agency matching grant program rather than the refugee cash assistance program. through this program voluntary resettlement agencies provide services to help refugees become employed and self-sufficient within their first four months in the u.s. in fiscal year 2014 the program served 30,000 individuals and reported economic self-sufficiency rates of 76%
for refugees at 180 days after arrival. given the proven success of the program, the president's budget -- proposes a $22 million -- 2016 to the 22's matching grant program to serve an additional 10,000 individuals. i would like to share with you the story of one refugee. is family was forced to flee to, in northern iraq with u.s. military begins withdrawal. due to family members employment with u.s. it's a challenge. he apply for more than 100 jobs in his first seven months in st. louis will attending english when which classes. his first job was working at a local grocery store. three years later he is open a car dealership. his mission is to provide fellow immigrants with affordable and reliable used cars. it's been open for two years. he employs a number of other individuals and he now is
helping other refugees and individuals to help their first cars. his first -- his determination to succeed is what i see in many refugees who arrive in this country despite unimaginable hardships, violence, and oppression. they arrive seeking opportunity, not handouts. an opportunity to get back to their communities and achieve the american dream. andprograms assist refugees other vulnerable populations to do that. i welcome your interest in the u.s. refugee resettlement program at hhs. thank you for the opportunity to discuss our work and it would be happy to answer any questions. senator sessions: thank you. you mentioned the refugee, cuban, haitian, social programs that also tend to refugees. that totals 140,000 that you have responsible before? mr. carey: yes or. senator sessions: that includes 85,000 refugees?
mr. carey: these numbers are from 2014. they include responsibly for 70,000. senator sessions: you also mention self-sufficiency that you define self-sufficiency to include government assistance reports, do you not? mr. carey: you mentioned grant celso vacancy rates include individuals were employed at a full-time employment at 180 days after arrival. senator sessions: but they still may be eligible for food stamps. medicaid/and other assistance programs, isn't that correct? admitted: refugees are as legal permanent residents and their eligible for any benefits or adjusted legal permanent resident status after one year. during their time of assistance they are eligible as other individuals would be within their first eight months in the
united states. senator sessions: i think we all need to fully understand this. 2013, refugeesgh from the middle east, 91% are eligible and received snap foodstamp benefits. a high percentage received -- benefits, housing benefits, and medicaid. is that correct? senator sessions: the denied? refugees: it includes that are receiving benefits during their initial resettlement period as provided through our and state local governments. senator sessions: my understanding is that through that five-year period you had a very high subsidy rate. i think we should know that because when they come in you provide assistance to help them get established. they are then immediately eligible for the same eight programs that we provide -- aid
programs we provide american systems and most of them will be started with lower incomes and become eligible for health care and other benefits. mr. bartlett, in general, it's important for us to ask my staff to make sure had is the thing really work? maybe you would be the one to ask. refugees to believe go on at about 90% to the year-end who then sent -- give them some sort of number or sent them at least some of them to the united states. 9 resettlement offices around the globe, is that right? mr. bartlett: let me explain. the high commissioner for refugees is our largest partner overseas. we funding to that agency and i think as you and others have mentioned, it is important we
assist refugees overseas. it is about helping them have an opportunity to go home, should itself.asion present they have offices in all refugee hosting countries around the world, so they are our primary partner to one thing i would like to say in response to helping people overseas, the u.s. government provided $4.5 billion since the beginning of the syria crisis to do that. health -- to help refugees is -- refugees survive that they are the ones who actually know how to do the jobs. as we are the largest tt:tributors that mr. bartle
that is right. in timees come a point with a strain on the hosting countries and jordan and turkey and lebanon are free and we want to do our way resettlement. because they are working in people, specific families that are most vulnerable. >> the yuan was headed to your people, you would evaluate them and give them information, then it goes to homeland security, which does background checks and personal interviews. is that correct? to keep mynt colleagues waiting.
and then, virtually nonexistent, i know you have got a good plan and no place to check. if they are approved, the airfare is provided to the .nited states with theett: they go security checks and medical exams. to make sure we're not in an contagious diseases. provided as a loan to the refugee and the refugees, once they arrive, it signs a note to back the loan. in a course of about 10 years, we have an 80% can -- payment rate and that goes back to future programs. >> thank you. we will go to the next question. be aware thato
when we talk about the cost of the program, and we have a $1 billion cost, we are not talking the new stress on medicaid, food stamps, schools, housing they may be costs ofto, and other that kind, is that correct? you're not estimating that? >> 585 million dollars paid after one year, refugees adjust to permanent resident status and ae eligible for services on means tested basis in the communities in which they are resettled. do they have to wait a year before they become eligible for food stamps or ?edicaid
>> they are eligible as any other legal resident debate. mr. taylor: thank you for being here and thank you for your service, past and present. go back to trying to understand whether or not we have the resources and the coordination necessary to do this safely paired before i do, i cannot help but point out that a lot of the crisis is created, we talk about the syrian situation, but far beyond that, mrs. 10,000 or so syrian refugees. in the case of syria, we had a regime in the way of a sod and -- assad and the policy has led people to believe they cannot live within comfort and safety.
it is a humanitarian disaster that has already played out in the hundreds of thousands. a refugee camp with a number of syrians. if you look at what the eu is doing, it is a crisis and in some part because of failed policies that the united states have in the region trying to stabilize it. president kerry said we were going to increase the number of refugees from 70,000 in fiscal year 2015 to 75,000. saidple of weeks later, he that a number may be 85,000, and they could go as high as 100,000. settingas more or less a floor of 10,000 syrians in particular. aboutw the discussion is a larger number somewhere between 85000 and 100,000 fair and i'm trying to get the math to work. i do not think any of you have
been told your resources are being increased proportionate to refugees. of at the most fundamental level, how young to figure out observe this -- absorb this at the current rate. is the important thing we all have common obligation to ensure the safety of home with her there will be handoffs between the various agencies. how do we ensure with the increased workload and pressure to help the refugees, that we do that couldmistake potentially put them at risk? >> i will start with the
numbers, perhaps the easiest part of the question. thee clear, the goal, target, the ceiling, whatever you want to call it for the fiscal year, is 85,000. we are striving to admit 10,000 syrians. it is not a cap. clarification -- 60 only clarification i have is secretary kerry said it is not a ceiling, but a floor. it suggests to me language that could be more overtime. mr. bartlett: the president signed a determination this week for 85,000 but if i were to be race, that would again me to be -- need to be signed. the gall00 refers to to do a hundred thousand refugees in fiscal 17.
i can assure you there will be no sort -- and no truck is on security, medical screening, metro caps on processing. there will be no shortcuts in terms of our responsibilities to the american people. >> thank you. level, we had anticipated the refugee ceiling would likely rise to 75,000 but as an operational person and purposes, i anticipated increased to 75,000. you're probably aware rare in an unusual situation. that supports my by applicantsid
from other benefits that everyone who applies for a green card, a piece of the fee .upports the refugee having spoken to our chief financial officer, he has informed us there is sufficient funding in what is called our examination fee account cover the 85,000 anticipated admissions in fiscal year 16 by reprioritizing between programs. i would like to reiterate, as way are wet said, no cutting any corners or changing the security checks or cutting back on elements that we think are intra-gold to the integrity of the program. >> elevated echo what was set up regarding the security check spirit we will not cut corners.
security checks were developed fbi,the expertise of the our dhs partners, the intelligence community partners, and the security regime was set up with all of that input and i ofe heard no discussion making any cuts to it for any reason. theuld like to point out grants of refugee status are discretionary so if there is a doubt, the case is referred for further review and if there is a national security concern, the individual application is denied. >> as the refugee situation continues to evolve, the administration is assessing needs for fiscal year 2016 with an increased number of refugees,
it will be important to reserve available resources at a sufficient level. >> one question related to account ability, i understand you are working with the decisions made, but it seems if we went to 85,000 over a couple of weeks, given the growing crisis, a serious crisis with people's lives are at stake, that would golf again. we cannot only answer the question in the context of the current commitment, but what we will make going forward. i share some of the chair's concerns about ongoing cost and more than anything else, before this committee, i have had to abouthe said discussion immigration decision that led a young man who murdered people in my city of charlotte because the handoff was not done properly.
deferredas granted status. it speaks to various agencies working together and using the data effectively. in this case, it resulted in the death of people in my city 20 minutes from where i live. i would like to know, you all are individual pieces and passing the baton in many cases. who ultimately owns the responsibility as we go through and process 85,000 or 100,000 or , what agency or who ultimately owns the responsibility when we have to come back? that is my final question. thank you for your indulgence. >> the responsibility, it is one of our forms. that responsibility falls to u.s. cif. we would not approve it if we
had that on the application. we also have discretions certainly can deny a case when we feel it is appropriate even if there is not a derogatory security check but there is other information we think makes the individual not a good candidate come to the united states. is another check when the applicant arrives at the airport. our colleagues, the inspectors at the airport can also make a decision at that point whether to admit based on the fact that the applicant already has an approved refugee status. mr. bartlett: in the limb is not linear will be building so they will be looking toward the end of the year and not be picking palin will have an opportunity to review how we do this to make it more efficient and as effective or more effective than it is now.
>> he make a valid point. if we go through 100,000, the myt year, as proposed, former colleague secretary kerry told us in consultation with the judiciary committee last week it would be substantially increased over 85,000, he thought. he frankly told us that. bottom numbershe this is not just scare tactics. i am interviewing a coach with a lot of kids playing ball. the coach says, they are monsters out there. than 20on to say more young men left a somali immigrant community from 2007 two 2009 to join al-shabaab for
the year and al qaeda affiliate operating in the war-torn land parents fled. in the past year, disappearances began again. this time to the islamic state terrorist fighting in iraq and syria. i am just saying, we know this is serious. you do not have the ability to checks on these. thank you for being with us and thank you for giving me the moment to make the point. will be you and i brief. i appreciate you calling this hearing. i know congress has a responsibility, that we review this every year and yet, to my chagrin, we have not done its's 1979. thank you for doing it and i think the witnesses for being here today and we have a case study here in iraq where there were systemic problems in the
screening of iraqi refugee applicant's. the fbi assistant director michael steinbock said, and i administration has "learned its lesson" since the problems it has had with the refugee effort. can you tell us what specific measures can be taken and what can be learned from that? mr. emrich: absolutely let me briefly describe --
they involve multiple biographical elements and think the biometric data. -- and fingerprints. biometric data. ofy are done over a period time and continuously throughout the process. they touch against a broad range of holding. our fingerprint check checks against fbi fingerprint holdings and against dod fingerprint holdings, which include obtained overseas and against the dhs fingerprint .ystems a time someone crosses the border, their fingerprints are captured.
rest oft to hear the this but in iraq, we also had background checks and also talked to people on the ground in iraq. we do not have it in syria. cause tremendous data that you're talking about? mr. emrich: it specific interagency check since the time can reviewaq and we in detail in another setting another thing we have done is the enhanced review i described. the individual comes in contact that heith unhcr provides that story, family then the interview, it
is interviewed again. by the time the folks are application, they have had a good incentive to because atormation that registration, that is how they get food rations for the most part. i do not want to discount the importance of the interview here. it is a face-to-face counter where refugee officers have been specially trained in the country and country conditions. ask.know what questions to they know what questions to ask about military service, what questions to ask about possible bars.
we look at, if there are national security concerns, we of the the consistency encounters and it gives us a chance to ask additional questions. a lot of expertise. >> as any other major party want to make a point? thank you. i am out of time but i want to get back to one thing. the definition of a refugee. syria, we havees been talking about the causes of that. turkey and is therefore a year, are they by definition considered a syrian refugee for u.s. consideration in our process question mark -- process?-
ms. strack: caps on race, religion, nationality, or member of a particular social group there is a bar under u.s. law under settlement it is quite a bit of law under what it means if you are living in precarious circumstances, if they are in a ifuous circumstance, even you have been in a country for a long time. areou have rates that singular -- similar and you can live indefinitely, it starts
looking like firmer. aree look at what the laws in the country. of all the refugee applications, how many are excepted versus rejected in a given year? worldwide, the average approval rate is about 80%. right now, it is higher than for syrian applicants. it is likely to come down. right now, a little over 90% for applicants. all decided yes or no and what leaves out is cases still under review or still on hold. we think a number of the hold cases will go and turn into denial spirit when we have a little more experience with the caseload, we expect the rate will come down somewhat. sen. perdue: thank you.
>> this is very important that i read in my opening statement with the europeans were finding for you had a nice stressed iranian saying he is from iraq, indians who do not speak arabic barely trying to get in as syrian refugees. deseret. barely trying to get in as wrestling -- as syrian refugees. they also goes on to say, one shady characters. islamic state sympathizers, a couple of guys from iraq, one wounds, who bullet seemed confused.
a syrian passport can be bought .n the turkish border someone bought a syrian passport and drivers license under the name of a real man killed in the conflict. we face a difficult problem. a former head of the association of officers has told us the agency has become a rubber, that there is no way to have eagerly to do what is asked of them. you have noty changed any of the procedures, but the procedures will not just do the job. let's talk honestly about it. mr. klapper recently stated we
do not pass the lack -- the likes of isil, monkeys refugees. huge concern.s a do you disagree? ms. strack: i would like to talk to you about what our process is. sen. sessions: i'm just asking are you concerned? he said we do not put it past isil to infiltrate those refugees. it is a huge concern for us. you're supposed to be evaluating those people. is it a concern for you and do you think that is a danger? ms. strack: yes. that is the background, it is the relationship we have with the intel community. we share information about what they see as risks. what we have been describing to you is the methods and procedures we have to try to
mitigate those risks. can i speak to the document issue #i know larry wanted to discuss this as well. a differencee is between -- we are not working in europe or resettling refugee applications out of europe. ofare working to merrily out jordan and turkey. the incentive for other non-syrians,, for is different. not relyt to say we do on any single document. difference, some of which are highly documented and some of which, because of the nature of refugee experience, do not have a lot to document. we think documents are informative. no single document is taken as a gold ticket for a refugee approval. i am sure that is
true. we were also told that a million in north africa was laying across the mediterranean. a lot of people who would like to become a refugee to the united states or europe, you have to sort through them. a lot of people do not have any documents. what do you refer to then? general, with syrian refugees, and the same is true with iraqi refugees, in general, they have any documents. this is our retraining. the law enforcement community, intelligence community, we invite them into train refugee officers and talk to them about conditions information. if someone does not have documents, they might tell us the documents were destroyed when a bomb fell on the house. we will ask when and where that
happened and we can check with open source information to find out if that is realistic and was that happening in that time. we have a multifaceted approach. we reduced the number of interviews our officers were asked to do because we recognize that they are so complex. we want the officers to explore all the information, often informed by the upfront research mr. emmerich described. your dedication to try to do right with the ability you have, the fbiebruary 11, assistant director of the fbi, expressed significant concerns with screening syrian refugees. i do not see how this can be denied or how you could gloss over it. issays, the concern in syria
we do not have systems in place is on the ground to collect information to that. the concern is databases that do not have information on those vehicles and that is a concern and your talk about a country that is a failed state, with no infrastructure, so to speak. sets, the police and services that would normally go to, do not exist. these itich, you query is that your responsibility? do you supervise? mr. emrich: i do sen. sessions: if there is no database took a, how can you have that information? there is data will check against them would be happy to describe it to you in a different setting.
do you think: there is adequate data, are you likely that any valuable information from them? we check every single thing that is available. i am sure you check. but the saint death the fact is there are no databases to check mark-- to check. is that right? you check everything we are aware of the breather and crying about, looking into, or as far as i check am concerned, if we have not overturned every stone --
sen. sessions: there you go again but i do not deny that. they do not have a national crime information center. they do not have access to criminal history records. they do not have a computer database that you can access. isn't mr. steinbeck telling the truth? see you disagree with what i read to him that the things he would normally check just do not exist? i would point out that in many countries of the world, for which we have traditionally accepted refugees the unitedars, states government did not have extensive data holdings. sen. sessions: all right.
i'm sorry to run over. thank you for not too badly. -- thank you. not too badly. anytime. -- >> anytuiime. in the early 1992's, 200,000 per year in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. thousand itthan 70 seems to me the numbers we're go -- itn today can is also demonstrated we can in a manner that is consistent with national security.
what do you draw from our past experiences and can you describe to ensuren place those admitted to the united states will contribute topics -- positively to our society society mark and -- a -- society? i think it hasn't been to remember in the immediate aftermath of the september 11 attacks, there was a pause in refugee settlements and a desire to make sure the best screening available was in place in the wake of that situation. for two years, the united states resettlement program had very low numbers. i would say those of us who work in this field for a living
consider them disappointingly low numbers. it was necessary at the time to make sure appropriate safeguards were in place. having those in place, we have worked very diligently on an interagency basis with strong relationships with law enforcement, intelligence tomunity, so we are able have it grow in a way that we think is responsible, has integrity, and is consistent with our national security obligations. sen. franken: anyone else care to jump in? mr. bartlett: in addition to , i1 and the iraq response think we owed to all of those iraqis who worked for us, we also played on a new check, a moment a time when it was developed with different security agencies and that also impacted our rivals. -- ad it out of a response
sense of responsibility not only to the people we are bringing here but the people we are bringing them to. i think you're correct we had larger programs in the past. infrastructure, it is a little more complicated. intention is not only to grow the 85,000 program to 100. but to do it in a way that is responsible to our communities. before we run out of time, i want to ask this tostion which i think speaks the whole hearing and the whole subject in a different way. i am not sure anyone has asked this i gave a speech on something else. it bears repeating that 4
million will have fled violence in syria and roughly 17% of the populationses total displaced. families are breathing treacherous journeys to escape persecution. up thatdurbin brought i do not think anyone who has seen it will ever forget. like senator durbin, i have a grandson. that image reminded me. of, i think, you know, and also, senator, d-i got a few seconds over?
you do? i will do this us fast as i can. ok. i never know when you're kidding. [laughter] it's i just want to know why he got the louder laugh. [laughter] sen. franken: timing. [laughter] sober subject. euy of our partners in the are formulating, going to redistribute 20,000 migrants among member states. germany has stepped up. the u.s. is on the other hand has excepted only 1500 thus far. serving refugees.
although the administration plans to expand the number to 10,000, i joined colleagues, senator durbin mentioned the and i was on that letter this was quite a while ago, urging the administration 65,000 by the end of 2016 said this is what i want to ask. i think the numbers are important in the context of the debate about national security. do you think strong leadership from the united states on this issue will post our standing in the region? shouldn't we be concerned that a tepid response here lends what our enemies a spin in the united states in
their efforts? i would submit we have been strong in the region. on.tepped up early was emergency response. last us before o'reilly have been slow to resettle. we have not been really ones who have been slow to settle affirmatively bedded room as i started about two years before syrians. syrian war ande the international committee is it was can go home really only about two years ago the institution said it has been countries hosting the refugees are bearing too much of a responsibility and we need to help.
they were very aggressive setting a pretty high benchmark for all of us. we joined early on. we did not announce a number. we basically said, we're open for referrals. at the moment, we have 19000 and we will continue to accept those are the we have a 10,000 entrants goal, we are not limited by the goal and will continue to accept referrals as the tragedy continues. thank you.n: that is something to be thinking about. thank you. if i may add i do not think any of us are satisfied with average
look hard at the places where they can affect efficiencies without cutting corners in any way to see that we can be more efficient. those referrals to come to us, they were able to process them efficiently as much as they possibly can. >> franken i would just note that in 2013, the united states issued a 117,000 green card, in thent residency united states, to migrants in muslim countries, including 70,000 migrants from just a middle eastern countries, 40,000 andgnated refugees asylum-seekers refugees and those essentially the same from all muslim nations. i think we have been generous. i just wanted to make that
point. i understand. sen. blumenthal: i want to thank senator franken for his excellent questions and comments. bartlettto differ, mr. , we may have stepped up more done far lesshave than we should have in the region, having visited some of those camps. i think the united states should and could have done more now should do more. not a has improves our standing the region. improves our sense of self-worth in the nation to we are a nation of immigrants are refugees like my father who came to the country in 1935 to escape persecution in germany at the
age of 17, speaking virtually no english and not having much more than the shirt on his back, knowing almost no one. it gave him a chance to succeed, as countless other refugees in the future, as we have done in the past with refugees in many and the need for the program is as serious and urgent as ever because there is no sir -- shortage in the world of inhumane dictators and territorial conflicts, environmental crises that contribute to the largest refugee crisis since world war ii. that is what we're facing now. is we need to improve and speed the screening techniques. american people need to be satisfied, as has been expressed efficacy andhe
accuracy of those screening techniques. a number of reforms, three in particular, expanding the program which gives applicants with u.s. families the ability to skip referrals and apply directly to resettlement support center. improving the timing and security of medical and security applicantsto ensure or their entire families do not have checks expire, forcing them to redo many of the screenings on individual parts of the test expire while they're waiting for other parts to be completed, and third, keeping families updated about the status. frugally, a single family member is waiting to be approved and they will be delayed. those are common, straightforward methods of
processg the screening so it takes weeks and not years to reach a conclusion. i think they are doable. that is where the united states congress should be involved. i will send a letter within a few days detailing those proposals. the large audience is testimony to the importance of the subject not just because of our standing or image in the world, but the self image, the self worth, the view of ourselves as a nation. my feeling is the american we are thel believe nation of the statue of liberty, that we have arms open to people who want to come here for opportunities and to escape persecution and harm abroad.
mr. chairman, if there is no objection, i would like to enter into the record some of the evidence of that widespread , a letter from a former republican and democratic official, including investors rank rocker and robert ford and former bush administration calling for the united states to accept 100,000 syrian refugees. a letter from 18 mayors , mayor emanuelgo asking the obama administration to resettle syrian refugees in their cities, because, refugees make our communities stronger, economically, socially, and signedlly, and a letter by 400 safe leaders expressing strong opposition to any effort to limit the resettlement of .uslim refugees
thank you. question,ust ask a , with your permission, i'm going beyond my time, mr. bartlett, or anyone else who wants to answer, if the program access, settlement would that have any negative impact? would you be willing to consider an expansion question mark --expansion to mark -- expansion? something wehat is would take under advisement and discuss amongst ourselves. there have been historically problems with the priority three program. you may be aware we suspended the program for a time until it we were able to add some
features. with the expansion of the eligibility category, one thing to think about is through that lens, to make sure in expanding it that we have the appropriate safeguards at the same time. if i may mention the three points we address earlier, the peace of the group -- improving security checks, and having them expire, that has been a challenge for all of us. we have recent improvements we and staff. with you this past summer with agencies that do the vetting, specifically improve the institution of current vetting will help us ameliorate the problem of security checks expiring and the challenge that has presented to us.
>> does anyone else want to address the question? i'm aware some changes have been incremented. in evidence that in fact they will have an effect. i think the credibility of the entire refugee program hinders on effective screening and one measures of effectiveness the delaysss and can, in effect, be self-fulfilling expectations when those tests for screenings expire. and they should expire after a period of time. but we need to be done more expeditiously. i think the chairman for his patients -- i thank the chairman
for his patience. i have a lot more questions that i will submit for the record. thank you. >> i thank you panel. i would like to walk through some of the details on how you do your work. as presently constructed, i don't believe were able to do what you are suggesting today. and the costs are much greater than you suggest, mr. kerry, in your statement. we have billions of dollars in costs incurred from the programs that refugees are entitled to receive. while we had 18 democratic mayors asking president obama to send more syrian refugees to their cities, homelessness in the u.s. has doubled since the last recession. we have a financial crisis too. every new dollar spent on these refugees will essentially be borrowed. because it's near expenditure, and we don't have new revenue to
pay for it. the mayor of new york, mayor deblasio called on more refugees, but originally said this was a european problem. i don't think the europeans help us with the central american problem. we have countries like brazil and argentina, that are taking any refugees. -- that aren't taking any refugees. new york city hall announced they would spend $1 billion more on the next four years focusing on homelessness in new york. somebody needs to be talking about the american people. what we want to do. we want to help. we are helping. we are doing more financially than any other country in the world to help deal with this christ -- crisis. i don't accept the idea that we are not doing our fair share. and europe should be picking up the largest share of the problem, frankly.
i don't see it there. a good policy is that people should be stay as close to home as possible. our overriding policy goal should be to create stability in syria and libya and yemen and iraq so people can go home. we have allowed that to get away from us. we can criticize our policymakers were allowing this dangerous humanitarian disaster to occur. i would say, i think we have to ask those questions and about who we are going to serve in whose interests we are trying to serve. mr. emrich, can you name a single computer database outside very small but significantly valuable intelligence databases for syria that you run a check against? does syria have any that you can access? mr. emrich: the government of syria does not, no sir. sen. sessions: they are the ones that keep records. we keep them in the u.s., those who are arrested and so forth. but you don't have access to any, if they exist in syria?
mr. emrich: as ms. strack mentioned, in most cases these individuals do have documents from syria. we do have various ways of identifying those documents, as she described, our officers are trained in fraud detection. we would be happy to brief you in another setting-- sen. sessions: i'm asking you to talk to the american people. the american people are asking you a question.
i read what the fbi director said. he said there is no database. he suggests there is no way that they can get sufficient information for a substantial majority of these persons. aren't you left to looking at whatever documents they produce, and conducting an interview? mr. emrich: i can assure the american people that we have a robust series of screening measures that encompass the wide range of u.s. government resources that involve u.s. law enforcement agencies and
intelligence community members, that these processes and these screening members are constantly reviewed. that we are continuously looking at ways to improve these. that they incorporate both biometric and biographic checks. they incorporate an in-depth interview with a trained u.s. government officer. they involve an additional interview, inspection rather, when a person presents himself or herself at the u.s. port of entry. ms. strack: senator, if i may-- sen. sessions: let me just say this. i have been in law enforcement 15 years. i know how the national crime information center works. i know how you run back on checks. -- ground checks. there's no way you can do back on checks of any significant. i'm sure we have some intelligent data on a number of people throughout the region.
if you get a hat on that, i am sure you would reject this. but you have only a miniscule number of people that have been identified, i'm sure, in that fashion. i don't believe you can tell us with any certainty that you have an ability to conduct an efficient background check. lets say you have no information. lets say there's a question -- do you have any ability to send an investigator to iraq to check if the person actually lived on this street, actually had the job he claims to have had? ms. strack: sir, if i may-- sen. sessions: i was talking to mr. emrich. mr. emrich: we do not have the ability to send an investigator to syria. we have resources to verify various elements of testimony and story. sen. sessions: well i'm sure there are things you could do. but you're telling us you can do that for a majority of the people that you interviewed? do you have the ability for a majority of the people you interview to have independent
data of value to help identify them? mr. emrich: in many cases we are able to find independent data. sen. sessions: in many cases, i asked a majority. mr. emrich: i cannot quantify. sen. sessions: 20% or 80%? can you tell us? is it less than 20 or more than 80? mr. emrich: i can't give you a number. sen. sessions: the reason is, you don't have the ability. i wish you did, but you don't. ms. strack? ms. strack: mr. emrich cover the point i was going to cover, sir. >> mr. chair, if i could. appoint you made on a -- a point you made on the u.s. response abilities versus those of other countries in the world.
i know you mentioned brazil is not taking refugees. i wanted to set the record straight that brazil,, in fact has stepped up quite large in terms of the syrian crisis. they have done 80 military and visa program -- a humanitarian visa program and allowed syrians to come to brazil. not technically as rapidly's, but from the -- not technically you are right, europe is taking people because people are moving across land borders. but there are countries like new zealand, australia, and canada also playing a significant role. thank you. sen. sessions: according to the information on, the u.s. is six times more migrants than all of latin american countries combined. do you dispute that? mr. bartlett: i'm only talking about refugees at this point, sir. sen. sessions: i also see numbers that indicate -- how long ago was that, that they
agreed to step up? mr. bartlett: it's been within the last year. they have done quite a lot. sen. sessions: we have done a lot for a long time. we are very generous and i think the world leader. we are proud of that and want to be a great country for handling refugees. i just believe we need to understand the reality. how much it's going to cost and the danger of admitting those who are a threat to the united states. ms. strack, there was a number of examples of people who have involved themselves in terrorism since they have been in the u.s. sometimes when they come, they may not be radicalized, but somehow someway become radicalized.
there is no way you can identify that, i don't suppose. ms. strack: no sir, we can't predict the future. sen. sessions: so we know the boston bombers came as refugees. ms. strack: they did not, sir. sen. sessions: how did they come? ms. strack: i will have to check with my colleagues, but they were not refugees. sen. sessions: were the parents refugees? ms. strack: i would need to check with other colleagues. sen. sessions: we have a bosnian refugee along with wife and relatives charged with donating money, supplies, and smuggled arms to terrorist organizations in syria and iraq. i don't think that is in dispute. a man and his wife were among six living in minnesota, illinois, and new york who were charged last week conspiring to provide material support to groups that we consider terrorist organizations.
and who's back refugee living in idaho was threatened -- an uzbek refugee was teaching terror recruits how to build a bomb. somali americans in minnesota were charged, seven were charged with trying to join isis. it's not an easy job. there is always risk. we want to be sure you are fully equipped and able to do the best job we can. i think we should be careful as we go forward and always try to protect the national safety, as you indicate. can any of you tell me how many people have been given refugee status since 2001? how many of them have been identified affiliated with terrorism?
well, we have a lot of public records on them. i certainly don't have the full number, that is for sure. there are a lot of things you can spend those fees on. if you use fees to expand dramatically the number of refugees from syria or other places in the middle east, that does tend to drain the money, does it not, ms. strack, that you would otherwise have for other needs of your agency? ms. strack: yes sir. in order to reprioritize funding, that will come out of other priorities. sen. sessions: following up on a
prior question, mr. bartlett, if we go to 100,000, are you aware of how many of those over the 75,000 this year -- 25,000 more -- how many of those would be coming from syria and/or the region? mr. bartlett: we don't have a projection. what it would look like when we bring 100,000 in -- we traditionally respond to the humanitarian crisis of the time. so in the last five years, we have settled a number of burmese, bhutanese, iraqis. some of those who have worked for us, now increasingly syrians and congolese. we've had a big program built on the congolese coming out of the democratic republic of the congo who have been basically in asylum for many years. again, those will be the populations.
they will shift according to peace, for example, existing, or conditions existing to return home. then those populations decline. one would predict that probably syria and iraq would continue to be large. sen. sessions: secretary kerry indicated some sort of consultation, he told us the figure was 75,000 for next year, then 85 we have heard. he warned us in might be substantially more. 100,000 would certainly be a lot. well within what he suggested he might recommend. we don't get fees from those, do we? it's a normal immigrant that has to pay fees to help subsidize these kinds of procedures. ms. strack: that is correct, sir, there is no fee to apply for refugee status.
sen. sessions: the washington post said that-- said that mr. and mrs. tsarnaev came as refugees, and brought to their children with them. it indicates at least the parents came as refugees, would it not? ms. strack: i would need to check with my colleagues, sir. sen. sessions: what about parole programs? is that under the homeland security section? ms. strack: it actually is a shared responsibility with the dissolution of the former immigration nationality service into the immigration operational division at the departed of -- department of homeland
security. customs and border protection have parole authority. sen. sessions: dhs is looking at a case-by-case program for parole, which is a program that has some difficulties. i'm not sure the kind of thing that ought to be done with regard to syria. but apparently it is being considered. is it still being considered, using a parole programs to deal with the syrian problem? ms. strack: sir, the uscis received a letter signed by 70 members of congress asking the administration to consider what we have called the syrian reunification family program. at the time there was a model based on a cuban family reunification program. under the design of the cuban program, family members in the u.s. who are eligible to apply
for green cards, form i130. they are eligible for that application and have approved beneficiaries, but their family members were actually able to -- were not able to take advantage of that and come to the u.s. because of the limits on family-based immigration every year. the program in cuba was to take those people who were eligible for green cards and let them come to the u.s. and wait in lieu of waiting in cuba. the letter that we received recommended that the administration consider a similar sort of program. this would be a relative in the u.s. who would petition on behalf of of a close relative. if that beneficiary was a syrian, the recommendation was we consider granting parole to that syrian beneficiary. at the time, the and
-- administration made the decision not to do the program at that point in time. as the conditions have continued to deteriorate, and as we have had requests from other stakeholders to take another look at that, my leadership has agreed they would take another look at that program. it doesn't mean the decision will change, but they have agreed to consider it. sen. sessions: you have a request, and i'm sure you should consider it. i think it's a problematic way to do business. we are increasing the number of refugees from syria. i think that is the appropriate way to ultimately and directly deal with this. the parole system was never designed to be used in this fashion. with regard to resettlement, does that fall within your area?
>> yes it does. sen. sessions: and general, i believe you had some sort of consultation with communities about a desire to resettle a number of people within your community. what is your policy on that, and can you assure us that any community that will receive direct flow of refugees would be consulted before this happens? >> i will defer to my colleagues at the department of state who handle the admissions and placement part of the program. >> sir, the state department has a responsibility for placement of refugees in the communities. the responsibilities are longer-term in terms of immigration adjustment. again, we do consult very