Estimates show that over 250 Americans have attempted to join ISIS. And that number is growing. According to a CBS News report, a shocking 25% of them hail from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many are former refugees.
Minneapolis has become a sort of recruitment center for the terrorist organization we know as ISIS. The Cedar Riverside community, which houses the largest Somali population in the country, is of special interest.
“Many came as refugees in the 1900s. The unemployment rate here is 21%, three times the state average,” writes CBS reporter Jamie Yuccas. “An alarming number of young Somali men from this neighborhood have left to join extremist groups. Since 2007, two dozen have joined Al-Shabab in Somalia.”
Cedar Riverside is trying to put a stop to the recruiting effort by upping police presence in the area. The cops – most of them Somalis – have been urged to create relationships with people living in the community.
Despite this and other similar occurrences, Obama shows no sign of changing his plans to resettle thousands of refugees from the Middle East. Republican lawmakers have expressed concern not only about the potential of terrorists sneaking in among the refugees – but also about the effects these individuals will have on refugees already living here.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions explains: As the president’s “officials concluded, there is no way to prevent refugees from radicalizing after their entrance to the US – just as has happened with Somali refugees. It is an unpleasant but unavoidable fact that bringing in a large unassimilated flow of migrants from the Muslim world creates the conditions possible for radicalization and extremism to take hold. The FBI director tells us there are now active ISIS investigations in all 50 US states.”
Last week, Senator Sessions and his team released reports on 12 refugees who have been publically involved in terrorism during 2015. Sessions, along with Texas Senator Ted Cruz, are pressing Obama for information regarding the histories of over 70 individuals. Earlier this month, Sessions and Cruz released the following statement: “In just the last year, refugees and other migrants admitted to the US from Bosnia, Somalia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Ghana, Kuwait, and Bangladesh have been implicated in terrorist activity.
Although I’m not sure if this threat would actually scare terrorists, Sessions and Cruz are hard at work on a bill (Expatriate Terrorist Act) that would strip citizenship from any Americans who join terrorist organizations. Before Thanksgiving recess, the House managed to pass legislation that will supposedly straighten out the refugee vetting process. However, Republican lawmakers continue trying to defund the whole process – at least until certain conditions are met.