Michigan is expected to take in more than 5,000 Muslim migrants this year, the highest number since 2002, amid renewed concerns about security and the latest effort in Congress to overhaul the U.S. Resettlement Program.
Since 2002, the earliest year for which U.S. officials say they have reliable state-by-state data, Michigan has resettled between about 500 and 4,500 Muslim migrants annually. State social service agencies say they plan to take in about 5,100 this year.
The expected influx comes as intelligence officials warn Islamic State members posing as refugees will likely launch an attack on U.S. soil this year. A bill seeking to cap the number of refugees and strengthen security measures was approved Wednesday by the U.S. House Judiciary Committee.
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Advocacy groups insist the fears are overblown, since refugees go through a 13-step vetting process by the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies. Refugees from Iraq and Syria are subject to even more stringent background checks.
Critics point to U.S. intelligence officials’ warnings that refugees cannot be properly vetted.
As the debate rages on, two Syrian refugee families are preparing to resettle in Metro Detroit this week. One family is to move to Bloomfield Hills; the other to Dearborn. In Troy, the city with Metro Detroit’s second-highest percentage of foreign-born residents, the school district is hosting a ‘Welcome Home’ reception for the new immigrants at Morse Elementary School on March 30.
Dick Manasseri of Rochester Hills questioned the decision to bring in more immigrants after U.S. intelligence officials said they expect a terrorist attack this year by extremists posing as refugees.
“The entire country is watching Michigan officials being criticized for not protecting its people from toxic water,” he said. “Could the runaway refuge resettlement program be another case of government officials failing to protect citizens?”
Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned Congress last month Islamic State extremists posing as refugees “will probably attempt to … direct attacks on the U.S. homeland in 2016.”
In testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee last week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said accepting Syrian refugees escaping their country’s civil war could pose a security threat, adding that security has been stepped up.
“Given the prospect of the terrorist-inspired attack in the homeland, we have intensified our work with state and local law enforcement,” he said. “Almost every day, DHS and the FBI share intelligence and information with Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, local police chiefs and sheriffs.” source