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tv   Discussion on the Syrian Refugee Crisis  CSPAN  October 25, 2015 10:30am-11:55am EDT

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ability to do things without really having to -- the responsibility for the outcome. and so he has been able to develop a persona as a guy who is a walk and a fixer -- now his decisions are actually going to have to have some impact or convince others to take action. that is a far different realm that he has been operating in. ms. swain: let me bring us back to the transportation bill. if the hard-liners in the house will not lower the dividend for the banks, which is in essence a tax, and won't raise the gasoline tax, what is a fundraiser for this resolution? the current policy expires next week but the dot has said they will probably have enough ending in the highway trust fund --funding in the highway trust fund to keep it going until next spring. they don't want to do that. they want assurances this year that they will get a refill into the highway trust fund. in theory if things fall apart on the funding site, dot could
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cause the long until next year --coast along until next year. ms. swain: as a passing legislation and fund it through the traffic fund and find it later on? ms. caygle: what they do next week is moving the date. they are reauthorizing the policy. with thenot dealing next short-term funding extension and that has not attracted the same kind of fireworks as when they move a funding bill. ms. swain: it is sounding like the next six weeks is like the six weeks we just finished. a lot of wrangling over spending and interparty working with republicans. a calendar of chaos. ms. swain: we look forward. thank you for joining newsmakers. mr. house: thank you. ms. caygle: thank you. >> i stay in the wings and don't
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come out very often so that this quite unusual. i want to thank you for your support and planning this wonderful evening for me. thanks to the young people for this great welcome. >> she was the first republican first lady to address a national convention. she traveled more widely than any first lady before, may volunteerism her issue, was chief supporter for her husband richard nixon, and behind-the-scenes political advisor. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's original series first ladies, influence an image. examining the public and private lives of first ladies and influence on the presidency from what washington to michelle obama --martha washington to michelle obama.
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>> i am cracked kaplan, c-span's capitol hill producer. i usually cover the senate floors while legislation is going on and other key events on capitol hill. we as a network are committed to covering the hearings gavel to gavel with a high-profile hearing we covered all the hearings on benghazi in the house of representatives. this is one of the next in the series that we covered. i got there at 7:00 in the morning. the crews were already set up and had put cameras in before and gotten in races very early so they cany early show what was going on in the hearing room even before anybody was getting there. outs starting to tweet things happening outside the room as well as inside the room. i was showing with the camera crews were doing, how the committee was setting up, how we made sure that we were as close as possible getting the key
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moment when she came into the building. and that she went into an annex room across the hall with her team, her aides, her staff. assigned desks that they could report from. a lot people i talked to in the public that it was the first hearing. they wanted to be here for a historic moment as they call it. so it will be interesting to see from here and in. i tweeted out a picture from the end that shows senator clinton talking to other members of the house. mainly democrats. she seemed very pleased and had a big smile on her face. chairman gowdy who appeared to be sweating at the time seemed to be happy to leave the room now that the hearing had concluded. that the most interesting thing was those conversations that did not get captured on camera. i did mention one about chairman gowdy and mrs. clinton's aide.
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there were other members of congress talking to each other. we devote gavel-to-gavel coverage for the house and senate. the house on c-span and the senate on c-span2. when it comes time for the key hearings on capitol hill, we are there. we devote resources of cameras putting it on television, radio, and online, and make sure that the viewers can completely understand without any commentary the entire event. this is one of those key events, covering this hearing with mrs. hillary clinton before the house select committee on benghazi that i think a lot of people will remember for years. we re-aired much of that hearing with hillary clinton yesterday here on c-span. we will have the second portion for you to see later today at noon. before then, we bring you a discussion on the syrian refugee crisis. recent estimates have nearly 4 million people displaced as a result of what is happening in syria.
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officials from the state department in the office of the u.s. high commissioner for refugees talked about the humanitarian challenges and the global response so far. hosted by the bipartisan policy center, this is one hour and 20 minutes. >> good morning and welcome to the bipartisan policy center. thank you for joining us this morning. i'm the director of the national security program and together with theresa brown we are very , pleased to welcome you to today's event on the refugee crisis in syria, europe, and the u.s. response. just a call out a couple of news
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stories over the weekend that will frame our discussion. with russian backing, the syrian government renewed an offensive in aleppo over the weekend that is estimated to have caused another 70,000 syrians to leave aleppo and perhaps causing new wave of refugees entering neighboring countries that are already hosting many refugees. including lebanon, jordan, kurdistan, and turkey. the turkish interim prime minister in response to this said, we cannot accept an understanding like give us the money and they stay in turkey. turkey is not a concentration camp. for those of you who noticed the chill in the air this morning, the new york times reports about the challenges facing refugees traveling to europe with winter coming. with large flows of refugees and migrants not just from syria but from the middle east and other
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regions trying to enter europe, and with the u.s. grappling the response, it feels like the conversation is often boiled down to two extremes between the imperative of giving humanitarian aids and the security challenges of letting people we don't know into our country. we are the bipartisan policy center and we like to explode . choices and binary choices. we want to bring together a conversation to day to explore the tensions between those two needs. to host that discussion, we have christian roberts, national editor of politico. before joining politico, she was managing editor of national journal and served as deputy bureau chief for the washington bureau of reuters. she reported on wall street and
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economics in new york and miami and the foreign policy from washington before moving to newsroom leadership. kristin holds masters degrees from georgetown university and columbia as well as bachelors from george washington. i would like to invite her to come to the stage. thank you. [applause] >> this is a really important conversation. i want to thank everybody for joining us here. we've got an incredible panel. let me just start by saying syria is not the only country in the world that is generating refugees. there are 15 million refugees in the world. the united states takes the largest proportion of those refugees. the case for the four million syrian refugees is different. what we are going to talk about today is how to balance the security and the humanitarian dimensions of this crisis. to do that we've got an , excellent panel. let's start with larry.
10:40 am to kelly is deputy director of refugee admissions. britney nystrom at the end is the director of advocacy for the lutheran immigration and refugee service. lorenzo vidino's director of the program of extremism at george washington university. adnan is senior fellow at the german marshall fund. the right place to start is by getting an idea of the scope of this crisis. larry, can you help us understand the magnitude of what we are dealing with? mentioned, this is a time for us where overall displacement is at an all-time high since world war ii. 16 million people are displaced. 16 million refugees, a
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quarter of those are from the syrian conflict alone. in many ways, we are seeing the international community really dealing with the biggest crisis with refugees in decades. depending on how you look at it. it could be since world war ii. such a really enormous catastrophe of humanitarian issues. it comes at a time when we are seeing some very large refugee emergencies. whether that is in the central african republic, yemen, central america, sudan. it is already coming at a time when the system has been extremely taxed already. and then there is dimensions with the syrian crisis -- there is 7.6 million internally
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displaced. they are having to be assisted by the international community. you are looking at a situation where half of a country's population is either displaced or refugees. and an even larger number made some kind of international assistance. over 12 million. if you talk about the numbers, they become almost unimaginably big. they are almost a hard to talk to because you lose people in the numbers. they just seem so enormous. at the same time, there has been an unprecedented and good international response whether it is through funding or or resettlement or humanitarian movements. it is still an emergency. for myself i've been in refugee , work a while. going back to the vietnamese era. usually emergencies have a curve.
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they sort of slack off at some point. we are now in the third year and there is no slacking. in fact, what we see is a metamorphosis, a changing into different players. more refugees from different locations and different causes spilling into neighboring countries like iraq. we have seen 3 million internally displaced as well. so i think it's a huge emergency. and coupled with what we have seen in the last two months, the pictures of people migrating into europe. again, for europe, it is another unprecedented since world war ii kind of emergency. i don't know if i have said the word big and large enough. i think that all of us whether it is it international organizations or countries or refugees are in the midst of
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something that is really beyond what most of us have ever experienced. >> can you talk about how this compares to the other crises your organization has responded to? >> every refugee flow is unique. what's interesting to note about the syrians is that since the beginning of the conflict, the u.s. has only welcomed about 1900 syrians. so given the huge numbers that were mentioned, 4.1 million syrians worldwide, we really have not opened the doors in the u.s. yet to syrians arriving here. and some of the other refugee crises that we have responded to such as kosovo, the response of bringing individuals to the u.s. was more immediate. when we resettled people, they had fresh trauma, violence that they had just experienced. many of the syrians now are being told that the weight they face in the region in the camps
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in turkey or lebanon could be three or four years. so what we are seeing is a highly traumatized population, almost all syrian families have experienced a death -- a husband, brother, child. but they are not able to find that immediate protection that they need. that's one big difference. a comparison would be to central america. we have heard interviews of young men leaving syria who have said, my choice was stay here or die or get on a boat and face the possibility of death there. with central american children being interviewed, we also hear the same story. i can either stay here, faced at death at the hands of a gang, or i can try to find safety may be in costa rica or mexico or the u.s. but the choices the
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is the same. death in my home country or possible death on the journey to safety. although there are some differences in scale, we see similarities in levels of trauma as well as a desperation to find safety among all refugee populations. >> is it possible to talk about the demographics of the population you are seeing in the refugee community coming out of syria? >> at large, the demographics as far as gender, it is about a 50-50 split. the major countries receiving richard b turkey, lebanon, and egypt. as far as age, i was looking that up. it is again about a 50-50 split. 50% would be 18 and under and 50% over. there is a relatively small number of elderly. that would be people my age and older.
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so only about 3% are making it out as refugees. that's a little bit of a difference than some other populations. in the sense that we see a lot of women and children, it is common to many refugee situations. some of the migration happening to europe is a little more male and a little younger. partly because it is risky. i would think some of the motivation to move is running out of resources. and the host countries who have done this unprecedented job of receiving refugees. if you go to lebanon, you see one out of three people is a refugee. >> that's astounding. >> that would be the u.s. hosting 100 million from
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people from neighboring countries and having the children be in schools and using public resources, etc. they have maintained generally open borders although at the moment we see borders closing. as borders and options close, people go on the move. i also go to the thing i think i demographics that you saw people who were relatively well-off, a lot of people who were middle class and had resources when they left. they have burned through those resources. i think the situation is changing and the level of desperation is changing as time goes on. the international community -- we are only at about 40% for the syrian appeal. that means food ration cuts by the world food program. it means other kinds of educational supplements.
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there is also that curve. i think we are seeing changes in the way the population looks. certain people heading out the because they are running out of options. >> what about your view in terms of the demographic divide? can we talk about the countries in europe who are taking many of the refugees? what those numbers are and what burden that is bringing to those nations? any of you? >> we have had a resettlement formal program. there's about 30 countries involved from as big as the united states to my favorite, liechtenstein. but also other countries outside of the region made opportunities
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available. so that's on one side of the settlement. and of course there is a much larger number of people directly leaving europe at this point. we are seeing arrivals of 6000 people per day. over 500,000 asylum applications filed in europe since the start. and the countries bearing the biggest brunt at this point and really taking a good responsibility would be countries like germany, sweden, norway. recent announcements by the u.k. for multi-year commitments. we have seen a response from many countries. i think there are still ones we hope will do more. there will also be a european relocation plan. that is that has been put one forward by the european
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union. which will also involve local members. of the same time, we have seen certain countries putting up fences. some of my colleagues have described a new iron curtain coming down in certain parts of locations in europe to block the immigrants. >> germany promised to take hundreds of thousands of refugees. but then germany has been criticized for that being a threat to german culture. hungarian officials are talking about the threat of terrorism. is this a fair concern? >> no. it's not a fair concern. it is a fair concern the sense that security is important. it is a fair concern in the sense that integration is important. but to view the refugee flow through a lens purely of security, that there are
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terrorists embedded or extremists embedded in these refugee flows i think is a mistake. it is a major issue of integration and inclusion and and whether or not the europe of the future, particularly the new europe, the countries that you mentioned, are they going to be open? are they going to integrate populations that frankly don't look like them or may not have the same religion? in addition to the humanitarian questions that have been raised and the security challenges that are certainly present, i think one of the silver linings in this -- one of the positive outcomes could be that europe is now grappling with and will decide whether it is open to immigration or whether it is closed. we have seen leadership from germany and france and other countries. we have also seen a rise in far
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right movements and political parties grabbing more and more seats. switzerland for example. and we have also seen violence against -- you mentioned germany. the mayor elect of munich was stabbed because of his -- presumably because of her open views on immigration. so i think you are seeing a lot of reactions. lots of negative reactions. but we are happy that europe is grappling with these issues and could emerge unified in a position to actually speak with one voice. and that is what we are seeing today. we have seen it romania, croatia , who initially sort of wavered. there are actually talking about resolving it as opposed to some of the other countries like hungary who are just putting up
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barbed fences and so forth. so it is a positive outcome in the sense that it is framing the issue. >> lorenzo, your thoughts. >> i would echo his comments. the debate gets very heated and politicized. we have seen statements from hungarian officials and throughout europe trying to exploit the conservative fears about the terrorist threat in europe. which is real, but is not necessarily linked to the refugee crisis. if we just look at the facts, i'm not saying it doesn't exist completely because anecdotally we can find examples of course when we have such large numbers. it's statistically impossible that everybody will not be linked -- that you cannot find at least one or two people linked to terrorism. but if you look at the events of the last few years, we do not see that link. let's start with the u.s. we talked a lot about europe. there is a u.s. aspect to it or
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it we just concluded a study of the individuals who have been arrested for isis links in the u.s. not one of them is a refugee. these are people arrested in the last year and a half. indicted for links to isis. 40% of them are actually converts born in the u.s. the vast majority are people who are born and bred in the u.s. you can argue that there are a few of them of somali descent who have a refugee background. that is a different story. if you look at the attacks that have been perpetrated in europe with a syrian linked over the last two years, all of them have been perpetrated by people who are european citizens or have long lived in europe or have no links to syria. so far we have seen homegrown terrorism and not so much an
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imported terrorism threat coming from refugees. obviously we have seen a few cases here and there. i think most of them have to be decided by court. we had a case in italy. we had a couple of cases in bulgaria and the czech republic. all of them need to be adjudicated in the courts. we will see what the evidence says, but we are talking about anecdotal. if you look at the big numbers, the 5000 individuals who have gone from europe to fight, they are european citizens. second and third generation european citizens. or a large number of converts, 25% to 30%. so the link is disproven by facts. >> let's stick with this for a moment because there are many officials attempting to cite things as fact. one such fact goes to the demographic question. that a large number of people
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coming from syria are primarily men of for lack of a better description "fighting age." -- do youmething that attribute that to the difficulty of the journey? >> that seems likely. obviously we do see the majority are men. half of them are women. it tends to be younger people for a variety of reasons. it is a difficult journey. even more if you take the southern route from libya to tunisia. obviously i think that's why younger people attempt it and older people do not. i think that's the history of migration in general. younger people attempt it. the fact that they are military age obviously goes with that. i understand the concern. obviously i am not saying that because in the past we have not seen a terrorist threat coming
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from people who come as refugees, the issue should be completely disregarded. i am and everybody else is concerned by the fact that it is very difficult to triage the thousands of people that are coming every day. it is difficult to vet them. and it's pretty clear that some of these people have been fighting and been involved in the conflict. the stories can range from people who were involved in terrorist groups coming to europe as infiltrators to carry out something. in many cases, you have people who were fighting and for one reason or another got disillusioned with the conflict and left. so we have seen people pictured with machine guns in syria and then coming as refugees and the european media has been full of pictures like that. each story needs to be vetted. why were they fighting? what group where they fighting with?
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why did they leave? it doesn't make them a terrorist. it would be naive not to check for what is possible the background of these individuals. that is the challenge. >> you have something to add. >> one thing to add. this is a humanitarian challenge and a security challenge. there is also a propaganda war going on. our own recent report from the homeland security committee on foreign fighters points to isis out there on social media in talking about embedding people in these refugee flows. if we except what basis is isis is saying, let's take a closer look. let's really think about this and not just fall prey to what i view as isis propaganda. of course it is in their interest to make us not want to take these refugees.
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it fuels the narrative of the west doesn't want you, stay away, join the jihad, etc. we sort of except these accept these conventional thoughts as a given but it really does require when you are making major policy decisions allocating resources which large parts of europe don't have, you really have to dig and understand what is happening on the ground. >> i think another thing that is often lost -- i certainly think all the agencies are dealing with, any military activity is something we are interested in. and there is mandatory conscription in syria into the syrian army itself. so there is a lot of talk about terrorist organizations without realizing that we are on guard as well because people may have been in the syrian military as well or they weren't, they avoided it because there are lots of ways to not be in the syrian military.
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i think there is sometimes a sense that people dealing with the issue are naive. people are not looking for issues. in interviewing cases, particularly when you get to resettlement which is highly individualized, or asylum when you spend a lot of time with the individual with will happen before. --s is granted, asylum is granted this is going to be a big part , of every interview. particularly if you are a male. and there is country of origin information, there are resources you go to. there are experts who follow these issues. and when things are unclear, i would say the process stops until they are clear. we also cover the caribbean and other regions. i also see some syrians that
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have been in the caribbean. i see all the submissions coming to the u.s. and a great deal of time is spent exploring peoples 's what did you do, what was your military history, what was your situation? what intersections did you have with the conflict? weather as a combatant or supporter, etc. one of the things i would love to dispel is the idea that there is a big split between those who are concerned about security and of those who are concerned about humanitarian agency. everyone in the humanitarian field knows that if you don't have security, you will lose confidence in the system. and the general public will lose confidence. and i think that is something we can't afford. that is why governments are on the lookout and looking at these issues. there is extensive paperwork on
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individuals that we have ways of looking into cases. the other thing i would say is like most systems of security, it depends on multiple layers. there is never a single layer. there's not a single layer when you get on the airplane. there's not a single layer when you cross the border. any kind of security approach is a multilayer approach. and there has to be a dovetailing of humanitarian issues that we are looking at as well as the security. and i think everybody that i have worked with is committed to making those things work together. >> how many agencies are involved when you are dealing with a security check? >> we are often the first stop or many refugees dealing with host countries, particularly in
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turkey, where the turkish government takes on a bigger role. in syria, we have contact with other governments ongoing, so if there are security issues. government will often be reporting those back. there's issues of sources and information flows. at the same time we work with , experts in the field and we have papers on specific issues. we have quite a lengthy paper. triggers that might come up in cases that move cases over to people who would do more extensive interviewing and do or put it on hold. all countries have a security process. the u.s. is not alone on this. everybody does tend to be multilayered. the two things i would say in general is that they divide
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between biometrics, so taking things like fingerprints and iris scans and anything unique in the situation is this is one emergency where we have such a high level of metrics. right now, we have over 1.6 million syrians with iris scans, which is virtually all of the registered population in lebanon, jordan, egypt and iraq. in turkey, the government is in charge of that in taking and taking fingerprints. we have never had that kind of level of biometrics, along with digital photographs. that's a new element. knowing the consistency of identity is one key element, being able to go back for five or five years from now and say that's the same person. i have been asked by a number of journalists why we haven't
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always done that? i always say because why didn't i have a memory stick that could hold 50 gigabytes years ago? it's a point of the technology being able to operate in a field location in a reliable fashion. our turnaround time with an iris scan is three seconds. it's not the full answer, but it is a layer and to get across that there are layers people have to get through. >> can you talk about the security process? >> refugees in the united states are subject to the highest level of security checks of any traveler.f it includes the participation of a number of u.s. government agencies. the federal bureau of investigation, the department of defense, and a number of other agencies. as larry was saying, it is true that people who work on
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humanitarian programs are not completely separated from the people who work on the security side because we are very aware if an individual came through the program and committed an act of terrorism, it could threaten the entire resettlement program. because the american people have been so welcoming to refugees over the years, we over to them owe it toieve we all them to make sure these refugee program is as free as possible from people who have unknown a known intent or reason to do harm in the united states. >> it looked like you wanted to say something about being aware of the security problems? >> i would just echo what has been said here. kelly said what i was eager to say, which is that refugees truly receive more scrutiny than
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anyone else coming to the u.s. that's not something that is widely known. i think it is assumed that because the u.s. leads the world in resettling refugees, that it is an act of compassion, an act of humanitarian goodwill, and that it is separate from concerns about national security. it is really an interwoven process that does involve multiple security checks. also it is important to point , out that the process of vetting someone takes 18 months. we are not talking about a quick run iris scan and you are on a plane in a week. 18 months to go through the background check and vetting process. that is something to think about. if we are undertaking resettlement as a humanitarian act, we want to make sure the system has integrity, but it does need to be balanced as well
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with not allowing a family to languish in a camp or allowing a not allowing a family with a family with medical concerns to wait for 18 months. we need to strike that balance between keeping our homeland safe and keeping the humanitarian purpose of refugee resettlement. >> let's talk about the u.s. response in particular. the u.s. promised to settle 10,000 syrian refugees for 2016. is that enough? >> my organization thinks it is woefully inadequate. i will go back to the scale of the crisis that was sent at the outset. 4.1 million syrian refugees worldwide and the united states to accept 10,000 syrians in the coming fiscal year. as was mentioned, if lebanon is currently hosting the equivalent of 100 million, it would be 100
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million refugees from syria in the u.s.. we are talking about 10,000. you can see the difference of what countries in the region are taking on and what the united states is pledging. a reasonable exercise of arden burden sharing would suggest 10,000 syrians is just not enough. one reason i say that so confidently is the united states is very proud of the leadership role we play in humanitarian relief. for years, the u.s. has welcomed more refugees than any other nation worldwide. it is something our government takes very seriously. that is not the case when it comes to syrians. we are lagging behind. we are seeing the region strain to keep up with the demand they are facing.
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to do our part, we would need to resettle many, many more syrians. agencies like mine are calling on the united states to resettle 100,000 syrians this year. we think that's a much more responsible number when it comes to foreign-policy concerns and humanitarian assistance. let us keep the process secure, but let us also step up and do our part to welcome this highly traumatized population into our community. >> what do you think the disconnect is due to -- the disconnect between the history of welcoming refugees and the an unwillingness to welcome these refugees? >> that is a great question. the agencies that resettle refugees work together under an umbrella known as refugee council usa. one of the biggest actors seems to be political will.
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we know where there's a will, there's a way. after the wars in southeast asia, the u.s. resettle 111,000 refugees in 1979, and we doubled that number in we can do this as 1980. a country. we can resettle a large number of refugees safely. and now, americans are proud of the role we played with the vietnamese boat people. it is something often pointed to as a bright spot in u.s. history. we're not seeing the same level of political will when it comes to the syrian refugees. we would not be talking about 10,000 if we really were responding on par with how we responded to the vietnamese situation. >> obviously, i disagree with that. the united states is proud of
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our refugee resettlement program. we are the largest refugee resettlement program in the world. last year, we brought in nearly 70,000 refugees from several 100 different processing locations from all different corners of the world. our program is very different from the other 29 or 30 countries that do resettlement. even countries like australia and canada may interview refugees in 10 or 12 locations and bring in a relatively small number of refugees. it takes 18 months to vet a refugee to come to the united states. we are not spending 18 months doing security checks. one of the reasons it takes 18 to 24 months for a refugee to come to the u.s. is that we will accept a referral of any nationality in any location at any time. at any given time, we've got
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something like a quarter million people turning to the system. somewhere between being referred or just applied or about to get on a plane to the u.s. that said, we are not the fastest program in the world. it's a large ship that takes a long time to turn. since we have admitted more than 126,000 iraqi refugees. if you look back to 2007, we brought in 12,000. i after that, we were bringing in close to 20,000 for many years in a row. the program is just now gearing up. we have received almost 20,000 22,000 referrals. we are in the process of vetting those and getting them ready for dhs interviews. we will have a huge number of interviews and i think we will get to 10,000, but the notion we can get to 100,000 refugees when we don't have nearly the
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capacity to send referrals for 100,000 refugees is just not possible. >> to your question, it can be a number of things. it can be our political cycle. we have both parties running around, no one wants to take a risk on higher numbers. what this has exposed is whether or not countries are open to receiving refugees. obviously, we are. we made that decision a long time ago generations ago. , the debate at the national level in this country are not about do we or do we not, it's how many, how do we do it, the implementation, the resources, and so forth. what we are seeing in europe is
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a conversation that is several steps behind. you have heads of state saying things like we will take the christian refugees but we won't take the muslim refugees. this is 2015 and you have people talking like this at the national level, so this has exposed a deep conversation that eastern europe has not resolved. it is not absent in the rest of europe. there are certainly problems there as we talked about earlier, but that's an important piece. our orientation is open and there are countries in europe whose orientation is not open. >> we are looking at this point for 400,000 probably in the next four or five years. my answer would be we would like the u.s. to do more because we would like all the countries to do more.
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i would say of the 20,000 we have made, it is true and it does put it at an earlier stage in the u.s. process. the other general ask is we are looking at ways to streamline processes. are there ways to do things better? are there other avenues by which whereby people can move? there may be detection opportunities that could be provided through other means other than purely resettlement. there are deficiencies to be efficiencies to be made. if you look at the u.s., the narrative is a bit strange. there are is a greater danger and there have been 30,000 u.s. visas issued to syria.
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many were in the u.s. already. those were not refugees. it's not like syrians are not here. there is a syrian community, there is migration. migration happens to the u.s. whether it is not immigrants coming through school, visitors people migrating, i think the syrian crisis really put something out. we have to be more creative. we have to build up the capacity to be able to make the kind of referrals that would yield 400,000 people. it is a big lift. again we have done these things , in the past, but it does take time. my hope is we can maintain a positive trajectory which would be five times more syrians being admitted next year. i think that's certainly the goal we want to work with and
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the u.s. on and see where we take it. we did see the same thing that with the iraqi program. that seemed like it would stop the program in its tracks, but there has to be the political will. not just in the u.s., but has to be everyone's will to move forward and get past this narrative that there's something fundamentally worse about syrian refugees than everyone else. i think that these problems can be worked through. they are not insurmountable issues. they are doable, and it's a matter of getting the pieces in place and resources in place to do them. every country, we are running into this. i've looked at the referral versus departure numbers. other than sweden and a couple of other countries, the gap is unacceptable from the time we get cases to arrival.
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every country has a gap. the swedes are known for their speed. the numbers are not ever going to be comparable to the u.s. or canada or australia. the swedes are also receiving a lot of spontaneous arrivals. so people don't have to make their way to the border of sweden to make an asylum application. that's one of the main reasons to do resettlement. even at 10%, it is the give and an outlet for the most vulnerable to show there some tangible support that countries in the region are hosting these fantastically large numbers. it's one thing to put money into a program and it's another to take people. both of those have to part of
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be part of the international response. i don't want to say paying your way out of the problem, but it has to be more than just putting money out there. that's why people are migrating irregularly because they don't have other legal options to move. >> larry talked about resources and political will. the other thing we have to acknowledge is there are budget realities. there has to be political will not just on the part of the administration but on the part of congress to fund a resettlement program. the u.s. refugee resettlement program is an extremely expensive endeavor. my bureau at the state department spent about $400 million last year admitting 70,000 refugees. we are going to need more to bring in 85,000. the department of health and human services office of refugee resettlement also spent hundreds of millions of dollars on our program.
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we at least in the state department we have a limited , amount of money to fund resettlement and humanitarian assistance. the more refugees we resettle, the less money we have for humanitarian assistance. it can impact a far greater number of people in the region. it is one thing for refugees to be calling for 100,000 syrians, which we are not going to make the entire program syrians, but you have to have a program of 200,000 to accommodate that. we need significantly more money than we are getting now. i'm not sure many of us have confidence we're going to get that money from congress. >> i completely agree that congress has a role to play here. it would not be responsible to accept refugees without the resources that they need to adjust to life in the u.s., to become acclimated, to learn a new language. that's right area there has to
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-- that's right. there has to be a commensurate level of financial support to go along with the political will. i don't want to leave the audience with the perception that refugees are just sucking up resources. that is not the case. most of the refugees we help resettle become self-sufficient very, very quickly. that is one of the department of state's goals -- that individuals who are resettle to the u.s. become both financially self-sufficient as well as able to live independently. we know communities are made richer who resettle refugees. they gain in resources from refugees who open businesses, who contribute to the economy of their community, and the amount of time refugees are eligible for public assistance is very limited. there is an eight month window where a refugees receives cash assistance. after that, they are expected to
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become completely self-sufficient. there is an outlay of resources at the beginning of the process but the country benefits from , resettling refugees. >> i am a here to get to the audience q&a, but there's one thing i want to focus on. there are two words that did not come out of any of your mouths . one is prejudice and one is fear. how are fear and prejudice in congress or a long officials and politicians affecting the u.s. approach here? >> there is a lot of fear. i mentioned the isis propaganda. people see this stuff and we are already self-conscious about not being able to measure up to isis, the so-called amazing isis social media presence, which i don't think is all that amazing. we sort of recycle conversations when it comes to fear mongering
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and particularly when it comes to the middle east. it is driven by prejudice, racism, fear of islam and jihad and so forth. it also raises the issue when related to the sweden question of leadership. what we are not seeing is that kind of leadership saying it may be a political election cycle, will still and we will still allocate resources for this in our miss humanitarian enormous humanitarian crisis. we are not seeing that. i'm disappointed that i'm not seeing this at the level i think we should, but more important ly we're not seeing it in , europe. you are not seeing it in the kind of numbers we should be. what you are seeing in europe, last week -- and this was mentioned in the opening -- let's shift a check over to
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turkey and say keep your refugees or build bigger walls is basically what the eu council ended up with. let's hope in december when they meet again, they can come up with something more creative and something that says europe has leadership and we will set aside resources and tackle this issue head on as opposed to hiding behind fear and prejudice and misinformation. >> about isis messaging and our own weak counter messaging, trying to see the bright side, this could be something that could undermine the isis narrative. people are voting with their feet and moving out of isis-controlled territory. isis has issued a lot of communiques and videos denouncing people who leave the so-called islamic state, accusing them of blasphemy
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because they leave the entity holy entity they think they have established. and it's not something we are exploiting from a counter narrative perspective. people who live there want to leave. you have a few individuals in the west who want to go and live there, but aside from that, the majority of people do not want to live under isis-controlled territory. we are missing the opportunity from our counter messaging point of view. some of the messages, particularly in europe, the most xenophobic parts of europe are -- there is a big difference between between the european experience with muslim immigration the american experience. two very different demographics. it is completely different from a socioeconomic background from the european one.
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they get exploited by certain forces but it is undeniable. they do drive some of the debates there. in the u.s., i don't really see the tensions. terrorism is the iceberg of it. europe, it does exist but in america, it does not read it is puzzling in a way, the position in the u.s. compared to the european one. >> we do have tensions in this country, but we also have mechanisms, community mechanisms and resilient mechanisms to try to work out those issues and those tensions. we have controls over violence and far right extremist parties and groups.
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in europe, we are not seeing that. we have a runaway train at the highest levels. that is something -- just to be clear, not all of europe but in , certain parts of europe, you are seeing it as part of the national discourse and you see national leaders get in on the side of issues that i think is appalling. >> we have heard in the u.s. from members of congress, from state and local officials express fear about welcoming the syrian refugee population and . those expressions don't mention fear or prejudice. it's usually security and terrorism that are the talking points that are driving some of the conversations in the u.s.
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i want to point out that my organization as well as our refugee council usa partners have been overwhelmed with a positive response from the american people. day withs ring every day with offers of, how can i help? welcome like to offer -- a syrian family into my home. so there is an outpouring of sympathy and a desire among many americans to help. much of that was awakened after the photograph of the young child whose body washed ashore in greece. and it hasn't abated. we continue to be really impressed with the outpouring of generosity and welcome that many americans are demonstrating in response to this crisis. so i want to point out that we may be hearing some politicians -- and there is a debate if they had about the security of the
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refugee resettlement program -- but there is also a very genuine desire to help. >> let's have some questions. a hand right here. from -- , reporter [indiscernible] >> close to the mic, please. thank you. >> my question is for kelly about things the u.s. can do to streamline its resettlement program. there was an article recently that noted that in lebanon, they can't currently -- u.s. program officials cannot go to lebanon to interview refugees there because of a dhs role that says that u.s. officials have to be based at the embassy. but because of security happening -- security work happening at the embassy, there is no room for them. that is one bottleneck. another bottleneck i have been told about is one of the hurdles
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you have to clear is proving you are a refugee. i have heard advocates a what if we just declare that you are from syria and you can improve your -- you are syrian, you are a refugee. what do you think of those issues in general? >> just to correct your statement about lebanon, it is not a dhs policy that dhs officers have to stay on the compound, it is an embassy policy. that on want to blame the department of homeland security. unfortunately, we see those sorts of challenges in many places that we operate. i mentioned earlier we brought in master 71 nationalities from close to 100 processing locations. we are operating and some pretty remote and sometimes dangerous parts of the world. so for almost a year, we weren't able to get the hs interviewers
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into baghdad. so we had to shut down our direct operations. we have challenges in getting officers into other locations, like chad where we have authorized a partner of u.s. officials because of violence. it is hard getting people into sudan, into kenya. so the challenges that because of the places we operate, we are constantly facing challenges like that. your question about -- about whether dhs could determine whether a syrian essentially is a refugee, i know that is something that dhs would have to respond to because there's there and just occasion -- it is their injured occasion -- and june occasion --
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we had a major improvement with security checks over the summer. which means we don't need to wait at the very end for a final of one of the checks, and that is helping things. i think we are going to see as we move through fy 16 that are processing times that will come down. >> let's go over to the side of the room. there is a question right here in the third row. >> thank you. slovenia, a country right now in the middle of this refugee flow. i would like to make three brief remarks. the first one, as far as the refugees are concerned, it is true for many syrians, but not just syrians. pakistanis, sos, the mixture is much broader than just syrians.
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and it is true they are primarily young, but there are a great number of young families. and these are more or less people of middle-class, so some of them are still able to pay. the second remark, i just thatree with this remark europe should come with a better answer later in the year. definitely should not be a european problem. we all have to try to seek a proper answer to the situation on the ground. and the third remark, as far as the balance between the human terry and and the security approach, it is true, there should be a balance. that is what my country is doing right now. we have enclosed the border. we are letting the refugees in. to take intoeed
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account our capacity. meaning we can i, day, process 1500 people per day, but not more. -- [indiscernible] -- channel them through the border crossings. situationsefinitely we cannot cope with. germany -- [indiscernible] -- can process them. we cannot a, they more than 10,000 people to stay in slovenia. so this is definitely an issue that requires a much broader answer, not just my country or countries of refugees, but europe and the world as a whole. >> right behind you, right there. >> thank you.
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i'm glad the panel acknowledged the influence of xenophobia and nativism and what a place in this crisis. although i don't think that in the united states at least those attitudes are evenly dispersed across both political the parties -- political parties. what can the president of the united states do under his existing executive authority, as opposed to an additional authority would he need from congress, in order to do more than he is doing? >> you mean specifically in terms of refugee resettlement? ok. it is a requirement in the act of 1980 that the administration consult with congress prior to issuing a determination for the upcoming year. this year, secretary kerry did consult with the committee's before the president issued the presidential determination that allows us to admit up to 85,000 refugees. if at some point in the year it looks as if we might have the capacity to exceed 85,000, the
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president would need to send a cabinet level official to the committee and explain to them why we believe the number should be higher. but i will go back to resources. to go even higher than that requires additional resources. >> ok. let's just they right here, then i will go back to the other side of the room. you, i am peggy, a congressional reporter. i just read a book on the 1965 act, which there is a civil right here that we cannot discriminate against race, creed, religion, and national origin. but i don't think that exists in other countries. they do have the right if they don't want to have muslims in hungary, say. i don't know if they have a you know,ts law, but,
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immigration is on civil rights. refugees here get a green card after a year, so it is an immigration issue. is that true in europe? i we talking about refugees as being permanent? or is the -- there and temporary status in europe. -- in europe? and isn't there pressure on saudi arabia and others to take in this refugees? if youe is a requirement become a european member. when you become a european union member, you sign on to a core of principles, and what of those is rejection of xenophobia. it is not as if now there are other questions about whether it conflicts with national constitutions and so forth, but as a member, you sign out to a set of core principles. secondly, i can't answer the second question. but the third question on saudi
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arabia, there is a very simple reason why we -- well, we have asked them to do more, but i don't think we should ask them to do more because what saudi arabia is doing is fueling the wars in part. you want partners that you can frankly trust. and partners who will want to resolution. saudi arabia is bombing entire shiite villages in yemen. you think they are going to care about refugee flows into europe? i don't think so. >> on the second question, for those who are being resettled to resettlement programs, yes, they would move onwards towards gaining citizenship. every country has a different timeline, different program. the german program, and the austin program, that are humanitarian admission programs, do not necessarily come with
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that guarantee. it is not out of the question in the future that the german government could decide, for thatle, to have a process when people move now, it is not with the assurance that they would be able to move toward citizenship. that being said, the right -- are virtually parallel to what refugees get, other than the sort of pathway to citizenship. and those who are applying directly to a solemn programs would come and almost all the countries in europe, they have implemented legislation of the convection, so once people move from asylum, there are procedures that very widely on how you become a citizen. from ones that look a lot like the u.s. to one that i know a little bit about, which is this was, which is a very different kind of process where you have to apply to your local community
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and people vote on what you become a citizen. but it is consistent with the national policy. >> question on the side. one in the back, then we will come to the front. >> thank you very much. my question is for everyone. my question is for everybody on the panel. germanpresenting the political foundation in germany. and you spoke about many of those security aspects which are assured in the u.s., but we and germany are expensing many problems at the moment. police officers do not and they cannot -- [indiscernible] -- all the refugees that are flooding into germany. some refugees are currently refusing to give their fingerprints when they are being registered. i'm the third problem would be that many iraqis or turkish citizens pretend to be syrians. they can buy a passport.
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and they just pretend that they are from syria. how can we cope with this problem? and how can we ensure that those immigrants comply with our rules and people do not come better traveling for economic welfare? thank you. >> volunteer? >> let me say one thing. forcemeland security task report that just came out last month spoke to a piece of what you are saying. and that is, we need to do a better job, the u.s. does, of sharing lists that we have not yet shared with our european partners. so that is a nice thing that has been exposed, thank dennis.
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-- thankfully. important foris people to knows that the refugee convention itself does have many provisions. it is about what the responsibilities are of asylum-seekers and refugees, as well as to comply with national law, so it is an issue of having the mechanisms in place, the opportunities. there are requirements that person seeking asylum -- i mean, there are obligations on the states, there are obligations on the asylum-seekers. i think it is a matter of having the procedures in place. there is an international -- there are some things that are allowed. for example, detaining asylum-seekers is not contingent with long-term detention, but there are things about complying with national law in the same
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way that either other immigrants have to abide, or in some cases it might be the same as what is required of other nationals. country passes legislation against the convention, but the international standard, refugees and asylum-seekers can be asked to apply to reasonable standards .or registration so from a u.n. perspective, there are mechanisms that could be put in place. is make sureon that they do have access to the procedures. sometimes we see, unfortunately, that there are many procedures that are good on paper, but refugees don't have to access to those procedures. ? >> we arelking --
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talking a little bit about apples and oranges here. it is a program in by we send officials out. we have the luxury of doing the security checks before we allow someone to come across our border. you are dealing with an entirely different influx in europe. that is why it is a little bit hard for us to compare and give advice. >> appear, please. -- up here, please. >> allison campbell. this is not on the resettlement program per se, but i wondered if you could give us any visibility into levels of support for turkey? i understand turkey is being offered now support if the refugees are there any length of time, or be released to the new registration centers in greece and other places. could you give us any insight
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into the region? and i have a somewhat related question about the provision of a manager and information to refugees -- of humanitarian information to refugees. speaking to refugees, giving them information that they need is a window to build trust, to make the narratives were visible to understand who they are. thatwould be the comment was made earlier about which america dominates. anyhe question was about expected increase in the region. >> and you didn't have a question with the second part? isand to what extent this giving humanitarian information to the refugees. cracks unfortunately -- >>
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unfortunately on the first question, i don't have a lot of insight into where the $4.5 billion u.s. government has provided to support refugees in the region, i don't know how much of that has gone to turkey. -- i think one of the things we know is a possible that because it takes a long time to process refugees for resettlement, there are people out there who can try to take advantage of that and try to exploit refugees by saying things like i can make your kids go faster if you pay me to do x, y, and z. -- make things go faster if you pay me to do x, y, and z. that is something we are working on on the resettlement side.
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counseling is part of -- if you are involved in any protection or engagement with the refugee where there are coming to you for protection problems, there is a number of layers if you are talking about migration side of things. obviously, you would be -- i mean, there -- for example, the settlement is not driven largely by people walking into our office and saying they want resettlement and it is by recognizing particularly bondable individuals. think as we see in europe, as thet develops relates -- proposals related to the inter-european settlement, who qualify, what are some factors that will be relevant in that, i
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think it is still being put in place, frankly, so that when people are in reception centers, you have the ability to extract correct information. consistent with national policies -- is it consistent with national policies? there is a scheme to allocate sediment places by the eu to various countries. but i think we are still at the front-end of that. really we are still much more involved in a life-saving, making sure there is the, as i think was mentioned very early on, things like winterization at this point right now is a huge thing. even the people crossing the mediterranean, this is not a warm time to take a mediterranean trip. so you see people arriving in very overcrowded reception tenders, particularly in greece.
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trying to work with the governments to expand the third isould say resettlement something you do when you have a little bit more stable platform. but counseling is obviously going to be a part of it. even in a very ambitious resettlement program, which i think we are trying to promote, you are still time 90% of people that that is not going happen and you will have to work out what is the appropriate response. if you don't have the resources to deal with the other 90%, effectively, you're going to continue to have spontaneous migration. so i think that is the really long-term challenge that we have on top of during the resettlement. >> next question right here. you have on? no? ok, over the -- over in the back.
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>> -- [indiscernible] -- in turkey and lebanon. i wanted to follow-up on one thing that rachel has said could you identified what of the roadblocks, which kelly explained further, and lebanon. but nobody talked about a big barrier that we have been facing passed any has just anti-asylum law. it would be like starting up a prm from scratch. they are to be congratulated. they are asking for some time. the have needed some trimming and capacity building on a whole host of things, which was government has been supplying -- which u.s. government has been supplying. that goes everything from
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sensitivity in interfering lgbt's, syrians, -- interviewing of gdt's, syrians, as well as t's,very basic -- of lgb syrians, as well as the very basic. it is hard, and their words, to ask personal questions. that means we have to go back to the drawing board, both the u.s. partners, as well as others to get some very basic kind of questions. and also speaks to the ability to identify vulnerabilities. and so the cases that we are getting as this begins may or may not be the strongest. as they are getting their feet wet, i think we are already now beginning to see a breakthrough. >> did you have a question? just a comment read thank you. -- comment. thank you.
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-- the association of international educators. you speak to 90% of people that will not be resettled. is there a way to recommend people that are identified that are in college or in university or have an education that would be helpful within the global community at large? we are seeing large numbers of people that are going to be displaced for many years, if not decades. how can we make sure that we don't have a generation of people that aren't getting the higher education that they will need and who should be getting it? thank you. >> i would say this is one of the areas where he are asking for innovative approaches. i think it boils


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