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The former head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the U.S. does not have the capabilities to vet Syrian refugees seeking asylum in the country.
“Particularly from certain parts of the world, I’m just not sure that we’ve got the background information — they talk about screening, they talk about being able to review everybody in a timely way, and it may take a year or two,” Tom Ridge told John Catsimatidis on “The Cats Roundtable” on New York’s AM-970 on Sunday.
“I’m just not confident that they’ve got sufficient information from law enforcement, the intelligence community to do effective screening,” he added.
“So, a pause for refugees from that part of the world is very appropriate at this time.”
Ridge said the refugee crisis is the result of the global community’s “failure” to deal with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The countries that are involved in accepting the refugees — that is just a consequence of the broader global community’s failure to take on ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in Syria,” he said.
“And you’re going to continue having refugees fleeing these barbarians, these murderers until the global community, particularly — hopefully — with U.S. leadership, but that may take another president, and NATO countries.”
The former Republican governor of Pennsylvania also said the problem will not go away so long as ISIS remains a powerful force in the Middle East.
“They’ll continue to have problems if ISIS continues to run freely — and they are, in spite what the president says — and get further and further embedded into Syria and Iraq,” he said.
Ridge advocated building a safe zone in Syria for refugees displaced by the violence.
“And I do think that the global community — in addition to figuring out how they’re going to handle it militarily — owes these people, owes these people the development of significant refugee camps until the internal situation can be resolved,” he said.
“And until we do that, shame on all us, because we let this cancer grow.”