Last week’s attack in Brussels has reinvigorated criticisms of President Barack Obama’s position on receiving and resettling Syrian refugees.
“You would almost say it’s disgraceful,” Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump told Fox News about Obama’s continued call for refugee resettlement. “You can’t even imagine that a man could make those statements, especially a president of this country.”
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) March 28, 2016
While Trump is the most prominent of the Obama critics, other Republicans have also used the Brussels attack as wood for the fire. Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) recently went on Fox News to call for a halt to refugee resettlement.
— FoxNewsSunday (@FoxNewsSunday) March 27, 2016
Such calls appear to be a case of apophenia — the tendency to find patterns in unrelated data. All the identified attackers were raised in Belgium, and some were even on U.S. counterterrorism lists before the attack. All of the identified attackers from the attack in Paris were also European nationals.
In fact, many refugees say the same brutal acts that occurred in Paris and Brussels are the same sort of antics they are seeking to escape from back home.
“My condolences to the French people and we are united with them,” a 35-year-old Syrian refugee from Damascus told Buzzfeed. “I hope they understand us and stay calm, because the backlash should be against terrorism, not people who ran away from terrorism.”
Even if, as some European security officials believe, ISIS members reentered Europe posing as refugees, the likelihood of that happening in the United States is next to nil. Refugees do not get to choose which country they will be resettled in, and the screening process for refugees coming to the United States is extremely thorough.
Out of the 784,000 plus refugees resettled in the United States since 9/11, none have been arrested for planning attacks on the United States, and only two Iraqis were arrested for planning an attack back home.