Monday, November 23, 2015

Reality Check: How Much of a Threat Are Syrian Refugees?

Here's some data from a researcher at the libertarian Cato Institute that might help undermine the political hyperbole about Syrian refugees.

"Of the 859,629 refugees admitted from 2001 onwards, only three have been convicted of planning terrorist attacks on targets outside of the United States, and none was successfully carried out. That is one terrorism-planning conviction for every 286,543 refugees that have been admitted. To put that in perspective, about 1 in every 22,541 Americans committed murder in 2014."

"In 2015, the United States has accepted only 1,682 Syrian refugees, or 0.042 percent of the 4,045,650 registered Syrian refugees. Only one out of every 2,405 Syrian refugees in a camp was resettled in the United States in 2015. . . .Few ISIS soldiers or other terrorists are going to spend at least three years in a refugee camp for a 0.042 percent chance of entering the United States when almost any other option to do so is easier, cheaper, and quicker."

"This situation may be different in Europe, where 681,713 Syrian asylum seekers have sought refuge since the beginning of their civil war in 2011. So far, one of them may have participated in the Paris terrorist attack, and that is far from clear."

Some are arguing for keeping Syrians in refugee camps indefinitely. Bad idea: "Allowing the current UNHCR refugee camp situation to grow and fester for years can only produce more radicalization and terrorism. A more expansive refugee policy with adequate security checks that resettles large numbers in safe countries can drain the swamp of potential future terrorists and decrease that risk."

You can read Alex Nowrasteh's entire article here.