US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort

Daily News Article - February 19, 2015


1. The first paragraph of a news article should answer the questions who, what, where and when. List the who, what, where and when of this news item. (NOTE: The remainder of a news article provides details on the why and/or how.)

2. a) What is The National Counterterrorism Center? Be specific.
b) How does The National Counterterrorism Center view the State Department’s decision to bring Syrian refugees to the U.S.?

3. What concerns did several members of Congress on the House Homeland Security Committee raise in letters to President Obama and to National Security Advisor Susan Rice? Be specific.

4. How did the State Department respond to these concerns?

5. What concern did FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach express during the hearing?

6. Larry Bartlett, the U.S. State Department’s director of Refugee Admission for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration told ABC News, “It’s not a matter of should we do it, it’s really a matter of how we do it. One of the fundamental principles of our country is that we care about others. We will help others.”
Ask your teacher:
a) What are the fundamental principles of the United States?
b) Is one of the fundamental principles of our country that we care about others? - if you agree with Mr. Bartlett, should this be the basis for accepting refugees from any country?

7. If it is possible that any terrorist would get into the U.S. with the several thousand Syrian refugees we take in over the next few years, should the State Department go forward with the program? Explain your answer.
(Consider the following when answering: What is the role of the federal government? What powers has the federal government been granted under the Constitution? What is it tasked with doing? Is protection of the American people the government’s number one priority, or is it important to care about others? Do you think the government can do both in this case?)

8. An estimated 4 million men, women and children have been forced to flee Syria. If we take 500 or 5,000, and Jordan takes 80,000, that still leaves approximately 3,900,000 refugees. Should we bring more Syrian refugees to the U.S.? Should we take 100,000, or a million? or 3.9 million?
What about refugees from other countries who are victims of Islamic terrorism, civil war or government persecution:

Nigerian villagers who lost their homes/families at the hands of the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram
Victims of ISIS in Libya and Iraq who are persecuted or driven from their homes
Yazidis in Iraq murdered or taken captive by ISIS
Christians in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya who are killed or driven from their homes
Victims of Communism in Cuba
Victims of Houthi rebels in Yemen
War refugees in Ukraine

If so, how many from each country? What about those left behind? How do we choose who gets to come? Explain your answer.

9.  For discussion:

The U.S. did not even want to arm the Syrian rebels fighting President Bashar Assad because we didn’t know who were legitimate rebels fighting a repressive regime for freedom, and who were ISIS and other terrorists infiltrating the rebel groups. How can the government now assure us they can tell that the Syrians we take in are legitimate refugees and not Islamic terrorists?